St. Luke is excited to be a part of the Southeastern PA Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Among other great thing, our synod offers excellent youth ministry events including a recent Jr Youth Gathering for young people in grades 6-8. Here’s what Kathryn Roessler (8th grade) had to report after returning from the event:
During the weekend of October 13th and 14th, I joined 6 other middle schoolers and 2 adults from St. Luke for the Junior Youth Gathering (JYG) at Refreshing Mountain Camp. Each year JYG gets a new theme, and this year the theme was “Creatures of the Kingdom”. We learned all about animals and how God has taken care of us and them. When we first arrived we all got assigned a small group number. There were around 8 people in each small group, so we got to meet other Lutheran youth that came to JYG. In our small groups we did activities that reflected bible stories. We also created bracelets as we compared ourselves to animals from Noah’s Ark.
During our service on Sunday morning we had a special speaker. He told us about an instance when a flower evolved so that it looked like a bee so that the bees always came back and pollinated it. His experience with the flower made him think about the tremendous time God spends with the little things in the world. If he spent that much time on something so little, think about all the time God spends on us and our lives.
Not only did we learn a lot about God and the creatures of the world but we also had time to play and hang out with our friends from church. There was “night life” on Saturday where we all picked an activity. There was a hike, a camp store and a big campfire with s’mores and songs led by the band Smallfish Adventures. Sunday after the service we had a little more free time before we got into our small groups to reflect about our trip.
JYG was a great learning experience and so much fun! I am sad to say that this was my last year being able to go but hopefully the church will continue to send kids on the trip like they have been the past couple of years. We all had a great time!
Supporting cooperative youth ministry efforts on the local, regional (synodical), and larger (churchwide and inter-denominational) levels can enhance and strengthen the efforts of congregations and youth ministries of all sizes. I encourage all youth ministry leaders to seek out and participate whenever opportunities arise. If opportunities do not exist, I encourage you to initiate cooperative efforts in your community or church body. No effort is too small to try!