Today marks the beginning of Youth2015, a national gathering of youth groups sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church. The gathering, which began in 1988, takes place every four years and features speakers, artists, mission activities, and other events. This year, it’s being held in Orlando, Florida from June 24 – 28.
This year’s theme is “Go on,” a reference to John Wesley’s call to “go on toward Christian perfection,” as well as Hebrews 6:1, “go on toward maturity in faith.” Attendees will have many opportunities throughout the week to participate in acts of piety and mercy so that they may “go on” home and share these same acts with their local communities.
I’m particularly excited about Youth2015 because we have a connection to one of the mission projects. For the past year, I’ve been working with The Upper Room on a project for immigrants and refugees. Throughout the world there are many people who are leaving their home countries and traveling to a new one in search of relief from war, famine, poverty, persecution, etc. Many of them face very dangerous journeys. The Upper Room is developing a pocket-sized prayer book to give to immigrants. The prayer books includes information on Protestant prayer beads and offers sample prayers. In addition to the book, immigrants will receive a chaplet – a small form of prayer beads – to carry with them on their journey.
The Upper Room’s goal is to distribute 10,000 prayer books and beads. That’s a lot of beads and books! I’ve been working with them to gather supplies and coordinate churches to help make the prayer beads. This week, The Upper Room is hosting a prayer-bead-making activity at Youth2015. Their goal is to make 4,700 sets of prayer beads!
I’m excited about this opportunity for youth from across the country to help make prayer beads for missions. More so, I’m thrilled at the thought of thousands of young people and their leaders coming together to experience God’s deep love and “go on” to share it. Please join me in praying for safe travels and numerous blessings for everyone at Youth2015!