– Rev. Brenda K. Smith
I went to my first Youth Gathering in 2009 not knowing what to expect. When I got there, I was in awe! I have trouble making arrangements for ten colleagues to come and work with me on a project at the Churchwide Office; how then do you gather thousands upon thousands of youth and adult leaders together for days on end?
I don’t know how it is done, but I do know that after my first experience, I continue to tell people, “You MUST to go to a Youth Gathering!”
Why go to a Gathering? There were many things that impressed me:
- The amount of preparation youth receive in discipleship before they come.
- The array of learning opportunities that are offered.
- The sensitivity to diversity offered by MYLE and The tAble.
- Seeing adult leaders taking time from their hectic schedules to mentor youth.
- Seeing the positive effect the participants can have on a city just by walking in the streets with their different colored t-shirts.
- The bonding that happens within the groups that come together.
- The fact that the Conference of Bishops comes and interacts to show to the world that YOUTH MATTER!
- The opportunity for youth to hear from others on how Christ is making a difference in their lives.
- The faithfulness and dedication youth demonstrate as they accompany someone in need.
One of the best reasons to go to the Gathering is to attend the evening worship service. I saw thousands of youth and adults of all ages, races, ethnicities, shapes, sizes, and abilities gathered to praise God by singing and dancing and hugging their neighbor… and I thought, “I am experiencing the Kingdom of God.”
Rev. Brenda K. Smith is the Program Director for Faith Practices and Book of Faith.