Youth Group and Family Ministry Updates

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IMG_1087Our SWAG (Saved With Amazing Grace) youth group has been busy this year! Retreats, volunteer events (such as events for Animal Rescue New Orleans, Second Harvest Food Bank), and social activities aplenty have peaked the interest of many and led to, of course… some great times! In April, the youth and young adults took part in their first Grace Work day. From now on, they will be tackling a special project… rehabilitating and maintaining the church gardens. With eight helpers and cooperation from the weather, we were able to get the front of the gardens spruced up and ready for Easter service. As an added bonus, these workdays serve as fundraisers; Grace has kindly offered to donate $25/youth or young adult who participates in the workday! These youth/young adult workdays will happen on the first Saturday of every month from 10-noon… so mark your calendars and we hope to see you there May 3!

Plus, we’ve continued the alternative option for Sunday morning education hour! Coffee Talk takes place upstairs in the youth room every Sunday at 9:15am. We follow religious blogs such as Faith Lens, which leads us through the lesson in a way that relates to our daily lives. These sessions are suitable for both the young, and young at heart, with participation by junior high students to adults of all ages.

At Grace, we’ve launched a new confirmation program for all unconfirmed youth (at a minimum going into 7th grade) and adults who wish to take part in the 3-year program. We have 5 youth in the program now and hope that this number grows with time. The confirmation program now focuses on the attendance of Coffee Talk, youth retreats, Lenten services, Holy week services, sermon notes, assigned readings, faith talk/mentoring, and the Affirmation of Baptism. We are excited about this new program, and hope you are too!

Also, with summer vacation right around the corner, the youth are gearing up for a fun! The annual retreat will be held from May 30 – June 1st at the beach. We’ll be soaking in the sun, enjoying the Gulf Coast, and furthering our relationship with God and each other over the weekend. Looking to the future, next year the youth will be participating in the ELCA Youth Gathering (http://www.elca.org/YouthGathering) from July 15-19, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The ELCA Youth Gathering for high school-age youth takes place every three years and is about faith formation, worship, study, fellowship, service, and play. It’s an opportunity for youth to engage in worship and fellowship with peers from across the United States and the world who share a common commitment and faith in Christ. We’ll be participating in many fundraising activities to get ready for this trip, so keep an eye out for ways to help make this trip happen! For more information on any of these activities, please contact Family Ministry and Youth Leader Jenni Schindler at jkschindler@live.com.