Bishop Ward celebrates the many ways the North Carolina Conference provides spiritual and discipleship opportunities for youth and encourages churches to also provide opportunities to encourage and minister to youth.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
We celebrate ministry with young people in the North Carolina Annual Conference and today, we give thanks to God for youth leaders, adults who work with young people and leaders from among the youth who lead their peers in mission and ministry out into the world.
Very soon, middle school students will gather for Kaleidoscope, a wonderful annual retreat. The theme for Kaleidoscope this year is “New Beginnings” and it’s a wonderful compliment to confirmation experiences in local churches. I hope you will spread the word about Kaleidoscope and encourage middle schoolers to attend this wonderful event.
Also this spring, Global Vision will engage in the issues of our time as young people travel to Washington DC and to New York. This experience, long established in the North Carolina Conference, is witness to our continued desire to engage in events as they unfold in our world.
This summer, Breakaway in June and the Annual Conference Session for Youth (ACS) in July are wonderful opportunities for you to plan toward and of course, Pilgrimage in November is a high point for many in youth ministry in 2017. Together in our local churches, we reach out in our communities inviting young people into Christ’s mission.
Very recently, I was at Red Oak United Methodist Church. Red Oak is a wonderful example of a congregation engaged with young people. This small- membership church sponsors a summer reading camp for 36 children. They raise money for the reading camp through an annual 5K run in October. They also have a wonderful organization called “Jacob’s Friends.” Jacob, a special needs young person in their congregation, is the namesake for this wonderful group and Red Oak reaches out to other persons with special needs in the community. Recently, an event drew 100 people in the community of Red Oak, those with special needs and their friends and neighbors.
In all of these ways, through the local church, the district and through the annual conference, we seek to be strong in ministry with young people. Thank you for your prayers, your gifts, and your efforts, that all may be drawn to the heart of Christ.