Up and coming for district youth!

Published on Dec 19th, 2014 by wpd-office | 0

Without all of the over-the-top lights displays, newspapers filled with advertising circulars, and the bombardment of “consume-here” messages that now dominates much of our Decembers (and increasingly, even more of our Novembers!), the Christmas-time is intended as a very reflective season.  We are invited to remember what God has done.  This remembering is one of the most precious gifts given to us from our Jewish spiritual predecessors.

This December I find myself remembering in the “short-term” and in the “long-term”.  It was not that many months ago that a tremendous number of us were in Colorado for National Youth Conference.  There were 124 NYC participants with direct ties to Western Plains, including 76 youth, 20 advisors, and 28 NYC staff members serving in a variety of capacities.  Western Plains was also among the handful of districts whose NYC attendance actually increased since the last NYC in 2010.  And 68 youth and advisors took advantage of traveling together to Fort Collins via a District sponsored bus … though with those kinds of numbers it became more of a District “caravan”.   Just two days after returning from Colorado, many of those same youth led the Saturday evening Worship at District Conference, “NYC-style.”  That may set a record for the earliest NYC report/Worship … ever!

In October, 24 of those youth gathered at the District Fall Youth Retreat, held in conjunction with the Gathering X, near Salina.  The group took on the task of looking at what it means to come “down from the mountaintop” of an NYC experience.  “What do we do now … ?”  The group explored what it means to “be church”, and even began designing the kind of community of faith they would like to help grow based on their NYC experiences.  Church of the Brethren moderator, Dave Steele (himself a McPherson College grad, and former youth ministry leader), helpful challenged everyone present to find ways of building relationships with the adults in their local congregations, and find ways of sharing their ideas with people who might be supportive, thereby trying to “build” momentum, rather than just try to impose it.

A lot of has happened in six months.  Young people have been challenged to consider the choices they are faced with, and how God’s dreams for this world might find a home in their lives.  And in the next six months there are an amazing number of opportunities to continue riding that “NYC wave”:

  • Christian Citizenship Seminar (http://www.brethren.org/yya/ccs/) is April 18-23, 2015, and starts in New York City, and ends in Washington, DC.  This year the theme is on “Immigration”.  Registration is ALREADY OPEN!  Click the link for a brochure, more information, a wrap-up video from 2013 or to register.
  • Summer Church of the Brethren workcamps for Junior High, Senior High and Young Adults (http://www.brethren.org/workcamps/) are a fabulous way to meet up with people you met at NYC.  Registration opens January 8, 7 PM CST.  Some locations will fill up in the first hour!  Click the link for more information about locations, dates, and the type of work that is scheduled for each place.
  • Plains Regional Youth Conference, March 6-8 at McPherson College. If there was ever a post-NYC event, this is it.  Ted and Company will be there.  Mutual Kumquat will be there.  And many-time NYC speaker and all around dynamic guy, David Radcliff will be there.  If you were at NYC, there is every reason for you to be at RYC!  Contact Jennifer Jensen, Office of Campus Ministry at McPherson College for more information, and search “McPherson Regional Youth Conference” on Facebook to find the group page that has the latest information.
  • Stay tuned for an opportunity to visit with Jeff Carter, NYC speaker and Bethany Theological Seminary president at the Osage congregation on the weekend of February 20-22.  Maybe we can turn it into a retreat/lock-in.  As more details are available you’ll see it in this District newsletter and on the CoB WPD Youth Facebook page.  Not a member of that group yet, message me and we’ll get you added.
  • We would like to grow the District Youth Cabinet and utilize technology to be more in touch.  Do you know of young person in the district who is active in their local congregation, has been involved in some district or denominational youth activities, and would be interested in participating in leadership development activities?  If yes, let me know.  We’d love to consider them for the Cabinet.  Current youth members include Rebecca Ullom-Minnich (McPherson) and Zadie Smith (Mont Ida).  Graduation got us good this year, so let me know of the people  we should consider.  Thanks!

I am deeply appreciate the opportunity to work with the youth of the Western Plains District.  They are a fabulous bunch.  Please be in touch if you think of ways that I can support your congregational ministry especially with and to youth.  I can come to talk about district or denominational activities, provide workshops on images of Jesus, Generational differences/conversations, and a variety of leadership development or vision/mission planning activities or events.  I could probably even organize a District youth Worship team to visit your congregation some Sunday.  Let’s talk, and see what can be figured out.

Thanks!  Many blessings during this holy-day season!

Shawn Flory Replogle
Western Plains District Youth Coordinator
620-755-6869, cell and text
and on Facebook

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