The Fall Youth Retreat–“Wholly Devoted”

We took 25 people, more than 10 bins of food and supplies, 5 vehicles and lots of SPIRIT on the Fall Youth Retreat to Camp Tugalo in Toccoa on Aug 11-13th for a weekend of laughing and learning.

The theme of the retreat was “Wholly Devoted.” Through exploring the Levitical sacrifices, we learned about God’s sacrificial love for us, and how we can sacrificially love God and others.  Youth enjoyed Team Building events, spent time bonding with each other, and spent some time with God, too. There were small groups, sports, games, s’mores, singing and more!

We also went hiking at “Little Falls” at Toccoa Falls College, and enjoyed a visit to the historic Toccoa Falls (pictured below).

 

On the retreat, we welcomed a several newcomers to the Youth Program as well! We all had a blast!

 

 

 

 

 



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Youth Service Retreat–“Seek and Serve”

June 15-18 was our youth service retreat, fulfilling our Baptismal vows to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our (local) neighbors as ourselves”. We sought to see Christ in all people from all different walks of life. We responded to three major issues: hunger, refugees, and homelessness.

Youth Service Retreat “Seek & Serve”

HUNGER

The first day, we learned about hunger, both globally and in our local area, then responded by serving at the Southeast Gwinnett Food Cooperative ministry. Some of our youth served in the pantry, filling orders and loading up clients’ cars. Some of our youth played outside with the children of clients while they got their food. Our youth experienced so much joy playing there!

REFUGEES

Next, we focused on refugees. We headed down to Clarkston to learn about several ministries with refugees, including Intertwined Candles, which provides jobs to mothers who need to work from home so they can also care for their children. We attended a rally at Refuge Coffee Company (which helps provide job skills to refugees by training them as servers and baristas). The rally was in celebration of World Refugee Day, where many different nations were represented. We heard the stories of resettlement of two refugees, one from Syria and one from Congo. Our youth were inspired with ideas for how we can serve the needs of refugees in our own area.

HOMELESSNESS

Finally, we learned about the issue of homelessness. On Sunday, we were joined by another youth group from St. Mark’s in Jacksonville (their youth minister is a childhood friend of our youth minister). Together, our youth groups packed lunches for the Church of the Common Ground, an Episcopal community which worships in Woodruff Park, largely attended by the homeless in that area. Thanks to the generosity of St. Matthew’s, we were also able to provide them with TONS of socks for their foot care clinic.

SEEKING & SERVING CHRIST IN ALL PERSONS

Each day, we reflected on how we had seen Christ in each person. The youth saw Christ in so many ways…in the delight of the children playing with bubbles or hula hoops, in the delight of their parents watching them play, in the creativity of a street performer at the Refugee Day rally, in the bright blue eyes of a soft-spoken man we met on the street, who attended church with us, in all our brothers and sisters in Christ that we met for the first time, and when we passed the peace, and the barriers seemed to come down. It was an incredible and amazing experience! If you get a chance, ask one of the youth to tell you what was meaningful to them! They will have so much to say, and they’d be happy to share!

 



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2017 Youth Sunday!

Youth Sunday was April 23, 2017.  The Youth led all parts of the service, including helping to give the sermon, which was on Doubt from the story of Doubting Thomas.  Youth used personal stories to illustrate times when doubt served to strengthen their faith.

Read the text of the sermon here. If you’d like to listen to the sermon, click here and scroll down to Sermons.

Thanks be to God for all our wonderfully vibrant young leaders!

 

Youth (and soon-to-be Youth) on Youth Sunday 2017

 



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Youth Sunday: “Marked by LOVE!”

April 24, 2016 was Youth Sunday at St. Matthew’s, where the youth led all aspects of the service, including helping to give the sermon, being readers, ushers, Eucharistic Ministers, musicians, choir members, and greeters.  Because the sermon was about how we are no longer marked as believers by the Old Testament Law, but instead we are known as Jesus’s disciples by our love, the youth gave parishioners reminders that they are “marked by love” by painting crosses (the ultimate sign of love) on parishioners’ foreheads.  These vibrant crosses served as an outward and visible sign that we are marked by love, a reminder that we are to be known to a broken and hurting world, by how well we LOVE those around us!

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