|| Montreat Youth Conference
‘LET LOVE LEAD’
Youth attend national conference
at Montreat in the North Carolina mountains
• Scenes from Montreat
Teens from Presbyterian churches in South Alabama attended Montreat Youth Conference from June 2–8 in the North Carolina mountains near Asheville. This year’s theme is “Let Love Lead.”
Participants included Olivia Akins, McKenzie English, Landon Merchant, Ella Thomas and Hailey Vanbrimmer of Swift and Briana Doege and Dylan Smith of Foley First. Chaperones were Pastor Kim Vanbrimmer of Orange Beach and Foley First Youth Director Logan Lane.
Your purchases at their bake sales and fish fry helped support their attendance to this unique gathering of young people from all over the country for a week of study, worship, and recreation.
“They are all very excited,” said Tara Morrow, Christian education elder for youth, before the trip. “Only two of the youth have attended before.”
They left early Saturday morning, June 1, and returned the following Saturday.
The youths will be responsible for a Montreat-style worship service at Swift Church on Sunday, July 7, at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary. This will be the only service that day.
The group is grateful to the congregation for supporting their fundraising efforts to help keep their individual costs to a minimum.
For details on the conference, click here.
Montreat Conference Center, located nearly 560 miles from Foley, is one of three national conference centers affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), annually visited by more than 35,000 people seeking physical and spiritual renewal, according to its website. Estimated travel time to get there is nine hours.
This conference is described on the Montreat Conference Center website as “a unique gathering of young people from all over the country for a week of study, worship, and recreation. Activities include morning energizers, music, keynote, small-group meetings, afternoon recreation activities, and evening worship.”
There are six one-week youth conference sessions at Montreat this year, concluding on Aug. 3.
According to the website, the 2019 Montreat Youth Conference “will equip and empower youth to make tangible changes within themselves and the greater community by hearing their peers’ voices and using their own. We invite youth to be their authentic selves, to form deep, spiritual, and intentional relationships with God, themselves, and others, in order to grant assurance of wholeness. We will provide an affirming atmosphere to embrace the unknown and ask questions that lead to exploration as a means of faith development.”
Montreat Youth Conference is designed for high-school students, entering freshmen through graduated seniors, and for their group leaders. There are four main parts of every day at MYC:
■ Keynote — The keynote session gathers everyone together for movement and group building (fondly known as energizers), announcements, music, and keynote. Keynote is a 45-minute-ish presentation engaging conferees in that day’s scriptural theme. After keynote, conferees head to small-group sessions.
■ Small groups — Small groups allow youth to form relationships with others in order to have honest discussions with each other about questions raised during keynote and worship. Small-group sessions are led by trained small-group leaders, who guide conversation and lead group-building activities.
■ Worship — After dinner, everyone gathers for worship. In worship, youth engage the Word of God as they seek to understand and respond to the challenges and triumphs of being a high-schooler in the 21st century. Youth Conference worship is joyful, reflective, and seeks to glorify God using many creative gifts of the participants.
■ Recreation — Recreation events are featured throughout the day and include everything from dance, games, and group-building activities to snowcone parties, international crafts, and service. “Energizers are a much-beloved Montreat tradition, pairing popular music and simple movements everyone can enjoy,” an article on the website said.