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Youth cure winter blues

Rev. Susan Eagle


The energy and enthusiasm of more than 500 young people is a sure cure for the winter doldrums. Eight of us from Grace discovered that recently during a weekend bus trip to Ottawa for Worshiplude 2015. Worshiplude is an annual gathering of United Church youth and adult leaders from six conferences in Ontario and Quebec held in conjunction with Winterlude in the nation’s capital. It’s a weekend of ice slides, ice sculptures, fireworks, museums, sight-seeing and skating on the Rideau Canal.

Worshiplude is an annual gathering of United Church youth and adult leaders from six conferences in Ontario and Quebec held in conjunction with Winterlude in the nation’s capital. It’s a weekend of ice slides, ice sculptures, fireworks, museums, sight-seeing and skating on the Rideau Canal.

For United Church teens, it’s also an opportunity to meet, socialize and worship with peers from congregations within a half-day’s bus ride of Ottawa. Local churches host the influx of youth and sleeping on the floors of their halls and gyms is part of the experience.

A definite highlight of the weekend was the Saturday night Worshiplude service at DominionChalmers United Church, a beautiful historic church in the heart of the city. Featuring dramatic skits, some liturgical dance, lots of singing, rockin’ hymns driven by a praise band and communion, the two-hour worship service flew by. The main floor sanctuary and spacious balcony were full of youth and energy. It was a memorable and uplifting experience.

The trip to Worshiplude was just part of the renewed effort at Grace to give more focus and emphasis to youth work.

With the assistance of a grant from Living Waters Presbytery, we were able to hire a youth ministry coordinator, Andrea Wheaton, who has been working with us for the last several months. She has revived the weekly youth group and together we have started up a confirmation class.

At the same time, Sandra Ruttan and her team of volunteers have been working with elementary age children in the Rhythm and Pitch programs that happens after school on Wednesday afternoons.

When our FFCE (Faith Formation and Christian Education) Team met recently to consider our plans for the future, their enthusiasm and energy was contagious, great to see here after Worshiplude.

There was an acknowledgement that there’s life in our children’s and youth work, not only midweek, but also through our Sunday morning Sunday School program and Nursery that can be a strong foundation going forward.

I want to pay tribute to our tireless and often unseen youth worker volunteers who help out on Sunday mornings and on Wednesday through Rhythm and Pitch.

I also want to say a public word of thanks to Andrea for bringing us her energy, enthusiasm and humour. She leaves us to move on to full-time work, but her part in assisting us has been invaluable. All the best in your future endeavours, Andrea!

Glimpse of Grace

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