August Greetings from Your "God Is Still Speaking Youth Group Ministry"

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Hard to believe that summer is almost over....

Hope you had a wonderful break for your regular routine and are feeling refreshed & excited about a new school/program year!  

There’s a lot to look forward to, but before moving on, I want to take a moment to reflect on the awesome United Church of Christ (UCC) Great Lakes Regional Youth Event that we participated in at the beginning of last month.

Every four years, the UCC brings together youth in each region of the country to fellowship, worship, participate in service projects and learn more about our denomination.  This year our Great Lakes region gathered at Elmhurst College and over 200 youth from the region participated - including 8 youth and 4 adult leaders from Pilgrim!

We had an AWESOME time and made many new connections in our “Community Group” small discussions.  Each of us was assigned to a diverse, 15-person Community Group that met each day to reflect on feelings and insights spurred by the outstanding worship and workshops. It was a great opportunity to meet people from across the region and also make sure that everyone had a chance to be heard – because it’s really easy to get lost or just hide in a group of 200.

And that was really the point (and theme) of this year’s event – “Let your voice be head because – YOUR VOICE MATTERS” – especially now. 

It was sobering to hear the youth admit that many times they don’t feel that their voice matters. They don’t feel that adults listen, particularly not adults in positions of power.  So, after a while it’s easy to decide to simply stop talking, stop speaking up.  Why bother if no one is listening?

This event was all about listening to the youth – encouraging them to think critically, speak up loudly and affirm that they are being heard.  And wow, do they have a lot of amazing things to say.  If you’re ever feeling discouraged about the future of the country, the world or the planet, I suggest engaging in a thoughtful conversation with a young person.  You might just find that their depth of insight and non-traditional thinking gives you a bit of hope, but more importantly, your affirmation of the importance of THEIR VOICE could make a real difference in how the future unfolds.