Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rendez-Vous with Faith

Our child and youth worker, Laura, and three of our teens, Tim, Christopher and Jonathan, are in Toronto this weekend for a national youth event sponsored by the United Church called Rendez-vous. The event has drawn 500 participants from across the country, including one strange refugee from Saskatchewan. Jeff worked with our Sunday School and youth as a volunteer until he and his family moved west at the time of wife Deb's settlement as a United Church minister. Jeff visited family in Oshawa and serendipitously or providentially rendezvoused with our gang at the GO station. Apparently he had only a vague notion of where he was going!

I am encouraged that this event is happening and so many will be attending. Youth ministry has declined dramatically in United Churches in recent years. At St. Paul's we are doing our best to maintain our commitment in a time when work with children and youth has all but evaporated in many congregations. Our young people need events such as this one, as well as at the conference and presbytery level as encouragement that there are other Christians their age. When they come together they have a lot of fun, but they also address deep issues of faith.

We'll pray that good things emerge from this event, and that the leaders get some sleep!

Comments? I hope that our participants will let us know how it unfolded.


Susan said...

Being together with other youth - interested in church and church issues is an amazing and eye opening experience. I was very blessed as a teen to have been able to attend two life changing youth events (Cedar Glen and Five Oaks where 50 youth from across the province came together to worship, learn and share). I was, also, very privileged to have attended Kairos '85 in Vancouver and Kairos '87 in Ottawa where over 400 youth from 16 to 30 gathered from across the country and where we had 10 international youth as our guests and teachers sharing with us. So is 'Rendez-Vous' the re-incarnation of Kairos of my day? It truly is and can be a life-changing experience to be gathered together in such a large body of similar aged people worshipping, sharing, learning, questioning, debating, singing and praising God. I wish all the partipants a blessed experience.

Anonymous said...

I asked a friend of mine who attended the kairos events and he says that this event is the highschool version.

Also the event is spectacular. With speakers like Roger Nishioka, Shane Clairborne, Mardi Tindal, and Trey Anthony were are all growing spiritually. The programs offered have been informative and faith-filled.

Also David, Marly Bown says hi.

lionlamb said...

Good observations Susan and thank for the clarification and "on the spot" reporting Jonathan. Feel free to offer any other insights into your weekend.

Laura said... all I can say! Go Big and Go Home was the theme. A fabulous, well organized, professional event held at the U of T. Planes, trains and automobiles brought youth and leaders from coast to coast to Toronto. (for many, it was a first plane ride, subway ride and taste of Toronto.)

As Jon said, the programming was extremely well done. We gathered as a whole group for 3 hours each morning at the Royal Conservatory's Koerner Hall and were inspired, challenged and truly entertained by speakers and musicians. Three hours sounds long...really, it wasn't long enough.

Afternoons were filled service projects and seminars, and evenings with dances, concerts and city events.

I have never been so refreshed and so tired at the same time.

One young fellow from our Presbytery was asked to reflect on his experience at the final service and one of his comments was that there were so many people he wished could have experienced with him. And I too wish I could offer even just a spoonful of the energy, grace and hope that landed at Rendez Vous 2011.

Rodger Nishioka (a highlight for me) led worship each morning. He specializes, and is so passionate and grounded in youth ministry in mainstream churches. As he closed Sunday mornings service, he spoke of the blessing of knowing Home, as beloved children of God. His voice cracked with emotion.There are so many he said, who long to know Home.

Check out our moderator's blog for her take on things on UCC Website, and check the highlights on youtube (and show your kids)

sjd said...

GREAT to hear that this event was a hugh success!

Jeff is a great youth leader. The maturity level of a 13 year old, with the experience of a 40 year old. Gotta love the guy!

lionlamb said...

Thanks for the additional info and perspective Laura. Sounds wonderful.