Saturday, September 04, 2004

Regional conference gathers youth from western states.

The hills of foggy San Francisco provided the setting for the 2004 Western Regional Youth Conference (WRYC), held Aug. 4-8 for youth in Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

About 110 people met on the University of San Francisco campus for the event, held only once every four years. Dena Gilbert, coordinator of youth and young adult ministries for Pacific Southwest District and chair of the WRYC planning committee, said she was pleased with the turnout. The region includes about 50 congregations spread over a large geographical area, making region-wide events a challenge.

The theme for this WRYC was "Living in God's Hands Together," focusing on John 8:12. Moderator-elect Jim Hardenbrook of Idaho was among guest speakers for the twice-daily worship times, done "in the round" in a beautifully decorated chapel. Each youth group was asked to bring a symbol of light to help form the worship center.

General Board Youth/Young Adult Ministries director Chris Douglas, David Radcliff of New Community Project, and pastors Thomas Dowdy, Debbie Eisenbise, Deanna Brown, and Susan Boyer also spoke during the week. Members of the WRYC youth planning committee led the opening service. Additional creative elements entered worship via the Jubilee Troupe, who used drama and interpretive movement to illustrate themes, and Joseph Helfrich of Ohio, who led music.

Numerous workshop options, service projects around San Francisco, sightseeing, sports tournaments and other recreation, community-group discussions, and evening activities such as swing dancing, a photo scavenger hunt, and an open mic night filled out the schedule.

"It's been incredible," said Zac Morgan of Claremont, Calif., a member of the youth planning committee. "It's almost hard to put in words all I've learned this week, spiritually and about myself. It came out to be even more than I had expected."

Source: Newsline 09/03/2004

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