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Youth at General Synod

by Waltrina Middleton, UCC Minister for Youth
Youth at GS29     Youth are always the first to hit the ground at General Synod. This year, at General Synod 29, their exciting program will begin Wednesday, June 26, 2013, two days before the official opening.

     The opening program, God’s Vision: Living the Aloha Spirit, will explore UCC’s commitment to extravagant welcome. In partnership with the Hawaii Conference, youth will make leis and ukuleles and learn how to hula. By getting to the heart of the Aloha Spirit, they will discover how it personifies hospitality.

     On day two Executive Minister for Local Church Ministries, J. Ben Guess, will lead a Youth History and Polity Course focusing on the denomination’s commitment to inclusivity and being open and affirming. It will also provide a fun and interactive overview of General Synod terminology and a breakdown of what the business of Synod is all about – and jumpstart Tuesday’s theme of God’s Vision: Psalms, Songs and Stories. Chapman University will host Tuesday afternoon, with hands on programming to help youth define their own stories and ways they are shaping UCC identity. That evening General Minister and President, Geoffrey Black, will host A Conversation Between Gospel and Jazz, featuring a three-piece band and Southern California’s own Art Cribbs.

     Dig Deep, a Los Angeles based non-profit committed to water justice, will lead a conversation on ecological justice Friday morning. Friday’s theme, God’s Vision: Living Out Loud/You Only Live Once, charges youth to explore their passions and find ways to live out their commitments for peace, love, justice and other ideals for a better world.  Justice and Witness Ministries will host a panel discussion with hotel workers and union members about worker rights (The UCC will stand with hotel workers by boycotting select hotels in the Long Beach area as an act of solidarity).

     The full lineup of activities can be found at www.ucc.org/youth. Click on the Youth at General Synod link to see the daily agenda for June 26 through June 28 and for nightly afterhours, June 28 through July 01. Youth will have opportunities to experience a border immersion with Centro Romero in San Ysidro and participate in a Town Hall discussion on the culture of violence claiming lives of youth.

     This year’s Youth at General Synod will launch its first ever YouthRead which will feature UCC Pastor Lillian Daniel’s top-selling Book “When Spiritual but Not Religious Is Not Enough.”  Youth groups can purchase the book via the Ministry for Youth website (www.ucc.org/youth). Click on “Get Lillian Daniel’s Book.”

     Youth can also make a joyful noise unto the Lord by joining the Youth Sing Out (YSO) and performing during a Synod worship service. YSO music will be posted to the Youth Ministry’s website for download and printing. YSO choir members should learn and practice the music in advance of Synod and come prepared for rehearsals in Long Beach.

     All Youth at General Synod activities will be held in the amazing 24-hour space at Long Beach Convention Center. Youth can also drop by for basketball, rock climbing, volley ball and other activities. Youth leaders can drop in, too, for networking. The 24-hour space will feature a Safe Space for youth needing to talk or seeking confidential support.

     Visit the Ministry for Youth website and social media pages (TheUCCYouth on Twitter and United Church of Christ Youth on Facebook) to stay up-to-date on all things Youth at General Synod.

     The one time registration for Youth at General Synod includes a $30 program fee and the cost for General Synod registration. The rate does not include housing or meals. Registration is required for participation in this program.

     Be sure to sign up for the Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries Luncheon, Monday, July 01, 12 noon to 2 PM and the full day CYYAM sponsored Border Immersion with Centro Romero, Saturday, June 29. Just add these additional activities when registering for Youth at General Synod.

     For additional information, contact Minister for Youth, Waltrina Middleton at middletonw@ucc.org or visit www.ucc.org/youth.

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