Montreat Youth Conference Jubilee
In Scripture ordinary people, places, and things are made extraordinary. Everyday elements like bread and water, salt and light, fires and fishing trips became holy through God’s grace; non-descript people like carpenters, tax collectors, and servants became heroes and heroines of the faith through God’s love. God can take the seemingly ordinary, and create profound moments, saying,“See I am making all things new.”
Well, at Montreat we are also trying to make something new. We are looking at the calendar for 2015, taking something ordinary – time – and hopefully making something holy and extraordinary out of it! What I mean is that Montreat Youth Conference Week 6 experiences a scheduling challenge every seven years because of a calendar shift. During this shift, Week 6 ends very late in August, and with many schools starting classes in early August, many youth groups find it very difficult to be able to attend. So we decided to take a seemingly pesky Day Planner problem and do something new with it. We are responding to this scheduling challenge with creativity and newness; and we are drawing on the early Hebrew people in Scripture for inspiration!
Leviticus 25 speaks of how God commands each seventh year to be an occasion for liberation, forgiveness of debts, feasting, rest, and celebration for the Hebrew people. God declares Jubilee, every seventh year, to be a holy time. We decided to mark this seventh year of a scheduling challenge for Montreat Youth Conference Week 6 with a similar spirit of holiness and celebration that God called the people to observe.
Montreat Youth Conference Jubilee Week 6 will be the Montreat Youth Conference Jubilee! It will be distinctive from the other youth conferences with some exciting new elements. Week 6 will be shorter than the other youth conferences (it will end with worship on Thursday morning). However, there is a lot of fun and faith development (and Icecream from the Huck!) to be packed in to this short week!
Just like the other youth conferences, there will be Keynote, Worship, Small Groups (between 5-6 sessions), Energizers, and Recreation. In all of these conference elements we will explore the 2015 conference theme, “This is Our Story.” During Week 6 we will have Candlelight around Lake Susan, but it won’t be the last evening event of the conference (because the conference will end on Thursday morning- and we all know light shines best in the darkness). We can’t do it all, so there won’t be a Free Afternoon. During Week 6 we will gather around the table as a faith community and have Communion and we will respond to God with our offerings. God will be moving among us and doing a new thing.
Week 6 will include an All-Conference Mission Experience with Asheville Youth Mission. We are excited to engage with our neighbors and be a witness to God’s love in the local community! A day of mission with our back home groups will provide us an opportunity to deepen relationships with each other and with our neighbors. We will then return to Montreat to reflect on our mission experiences through small groups and worship. We are thrilled to offer this unique mission experience as a part of Week 6 and we hope it will enrich our exploration of the conference theme.
We hope you’ll join us,
Rev. Katie Cashwell
Director of Programs
Montreat Conference Center