Youth Ministry Blog

Summer is an important time for making memories

Dear UCC youth and families -
 
I hope you are having a great week and that summer is (or will soon be) in full swing! I realize that for many of you, today is the last day of school. And what a year it has been! It has been hard for a lot of us - students, parents, and teachers alike - and one many of us are glad to see come to an end.
 
I do hope, however, there have been moments of grace and light. Through it all you have persevered and learned a great deal, not all of which was taught in the curriculum. You've learned about patience, self-care, the importance of connection, and much, much more. Someday we'll look back upon this past year and a half and see just how significant it was and how it shaped us in profound, positive ways.
 
But for now, I hope that we can all catch our breath, clear our minds, and have some fun!
 
We all know that summer is an important time for making memories in the lives of young people. Please know that our clergy staff is "all in" to making sure UCC Youth Ministry doesn't miss a beat during the summer of 2021. We will all work together to provide you with the important, fun, meaningful experiences that shape your faith journey this summer. You have my word on it.
 
Camps at Disciples Crossing, of course, will continue on as planned. Rev. Kera Watts is serving as the point person for camp this summer. If you have any questions, please reach out to her. I know some of you may still be on wait-lists for camp as they work to secure enough counselors. We are hoping for some good news around that soon. If you know someone who might be willing to spend an incredible week with some amazing youth, please let Kera know.
 
Our two Service Learning Trips that are scheduled for July are a GO as well! Rev. Renee Hoke and I will be leading the Chi-Rho trip to Houston, and Rev. Jessica Vacketta is heading the CYF trip to Iowa. Registration is open for those trips through July 10, but please don't wait that long.
 
Rev. Shannon Moore is taking on college ministry for the summer and has some fun things in the works for TCU students who stuck around and UCC youth alumni who are home for the summer.
 
We'll also be gathering each Wednesday at Dutch's for lunch and a chance to hang out. Please join us for those when you can.
 
Summer pulls us in a lot of directions. As you are running from one thing to the next, I hope that worship at UCC will be a constant. I especially hope you'll plan to join in worship this Sunday as we take a moment to express our gratitude and well-wishes to Rev. Jamie Plunkett for his ministry with us over the last several years. I'm grateful for Jamie's joyful, creative spirit and am going to miss working with him.
 
And I'm grateful for you, too, and look forward to a wonderful summer together.
 
With gratitude and hope,
~russ

Rev. Jamie Plunkett's farewell

Youth of UCC,
 
It has been my deep joy and great privilege to be your youth minister for the last three and a half years. Over this time we have had incredible experiences at camp, on Service Learning trips, goofing around on the third floor, and spending time together in community groups and other various places. 
 
We've explored what it means to be followers of Jesus, who God has created each of us to be, how God calls us to be active and involved in the goings on around us. We have laughed and cried and shouted and sang. 
 
We have created memories that I will take with me for the rest of my life. But now, it is time for me to leave University Christian Church. God is pulling my heart in another direction, which is not easy to ignore. 
 
This is my last week in the office, and we'll have one more Out of Office together this Thursday, from 4-6pm, at Steel City Pops at Waterside. I hope to see each of you there so we can say goodbye in person. 
 
I will also be in worship on June 20 to worship with you one last time and say my final farewells.  

 

If there's one thing I want you to remember from our time together, it is this:
 
Your questions about who God is and what God is up to in your life are holy questions. Never stop asking them. Never stop seeking a deeper understanding of who God created you to be, and what God is calling you into next. There is always more to discover when it comes to The Divine. 
 
I love each and every one of you dearly, and I will miss you tremendously. You will be in my prayers always. 
 
Grace and Peace,
Jamie

My hope is that you all continue to find your lives to be abundant

Howdy all!

Well, I feel a little silly writing this because I said last week's reflection would be my last. April Fools!! While I still thank each and every one of you for the amazing time we've spent together, I'll share something different for my last (for real this time) reflection. I want to share some words from Sarah Bessey's A Rhythm of Prayer today, specifically the contribution by Rev. Mihee Kim-Kort. In her section titled "This is How We'll Make It," Rev. Kim-Kort explores how we ask for God's mercy and says this: 

"So, I keep going. I roll out of bed and land on my knees. Push myself up. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and do the sanctified work that is breathing. And I keep looking. Keep seeing. Keep feeling. Keep trying to love like there's no tomorrow. Love hard; love recklessly. Hug a little longer. Play those irrational and illogical games with the twins. Read that board book with Ozzie for the 917th time. Try to answer Andy's question about the schedule for the fifteenth time without exasperation. Let bath time be like a baptism each night, and let the sweat that rolls off my face after a long run be an anointing. Laugh, cook, drink, clean, make a huge mess, sit and stare out the window. Let all of it mean something--gratitude, earnestness, hope; let it mean that life is abundant." 
My hope is that you all continue to find your lives to be abundant. Abundant with laughter, love, and overwhelming feelings of belonging. May God bless you and keep you, and may God's face continue to shine upon you.

Lots of love, 

 Addison

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