These past few weeks have been pretty busy and I am excited to get an update officialized! Starting with AC (Annual Conference) in early July, I started the journey off a week early, biking to AC in Columbus, Ohio. Throughout the journey, I stayed with congregations of the Church of the Brethren and knew ahead I was in for a treat. The individuals I stayed with were amazed to hear of my adventures along the way and offered great hospitality. Throughout the trip, I met a variety of CoB members and got to hear many inspiring life stories.
Upon my arrival at AC I was surprised to see that two other groups had made the trek by bike as well. One that I knew of and one from Elgin that I was warmly welcomed by. I quickly jumped into action getting booths set up for a variety of organizations prior to the start of AC and had an amazing time catching up with friends and meeting new folks with every turn.
The Northern Plains District was well represented and was pleased to see friends from my area in Ohio. While at AC, I worked with New Community Project and On Earth Peace and their program, Ministers of Reconciliation. ‘Work’ went very well over the week and I was granted fully with a large amount of experience thanks to the work and the individuals around me.
Of course, Nigeria was a major concern for many, myself included, and overall the week was flowed well for those needing comfort, those needing inspiration, and those just plainly looking for answers. Dr. Dali talked many times and the denomination listened with wide ears and open hearts. Another large concern for many was the failure to pass the query confronting the issue of the climates change and our response, as a whole, to its needs from us, a young people making blind, and not so innocent mistakes.
I can not stress the amount of gratitude I have for those caring for and reaching out to the future that I am strongly and rapidly moving towards, even today. As far as the young adults go, we had a great week of late night activities and the chance to speak with David Steele, the current Moderator for the 2015 Annual conference in Tampa Bay, Florida. Many young adults shared a concern of vitality within the church to David, and wanted to feel out how strongly he felt a need for change in the church. David gave the young adults present a confident outlook on the challenges the church is facing today. He shared his concern as well and looked to us to do what we feel necessary to make the church what it needs to be.
After returning from AC, I quickly (as many did) got ready for NYC (National Youth Conference). My roles here where again with On Earth Peace and their Ministers of Reconciliation teams as well as being a small group leader. Although I was not old enough to be a youthworker, I found myself helping out with many youthworker duties while talking to the other young adults who were actually youthworkers.
There were many great speakers at NYC, I was partial to Katie Shaw Thompson, Samuel Sarpiya, Ted Swartz, Jenn Q, Jared McKenna, and a couple others, but was surprised by a couple others, not having heard them speak before. There is no doubt that the worships, speakers, and music drew the youth from their seats. Some youth even felt so strongly and highly (or lowly (however you would like to look at it)) about the worships, that they, as many, myself included, the mustard seed revolution known as the Dunkard Punks.
Throughout the week, On Earth Peace was in charge of worship entrances, which are a variety of presentations of different peace actions that have something to do with the worship that morning or evening. Rick Polhamus, a good friend, took many great pictures and inspired me even further. He (and others) have gotten me intrigued to possibly attend some near future trips that I look forward to telling you all about soon. Rick also took many great pictures throughout the week that I also hope to share with you soon as well as a great story of Markie, a great unicorn!
After NYC, a couple good friends and I went hiking in the Rockies for a couple days and had a great time catching up from before and during the NYC experience. Travels home went well and the transition back to BVS with New Community Project in Harrisonburg, VA was very smooth. I look forward to sharing future plans with you soon as well as pictures from the trips and a great story about a unicorn named Markie!