Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Young adults are called to experience transformation.

The annual Young Adult Conference took place May 26-28 at Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa. Drawing 99 young adults and leaders from around the nation, the conference focused on Romans 12:2, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect."

"Only when we allow ourselves to be transformed are we able to recognize, accept, and respond to what God wants from us," noted coordinator Emily Tyler.

Bob Etzweiler and Hannah Serfling were the featured young adult speakers. Etzweiler opened the weekend with a challenging assessment of the ways in which Christians as the Body of Christ must transform daily lifestyle choices into faith statements in order to continue living. Serfling focused on the transformation that takes place by seeking forgiveness from sin.

Other speakers included Marlys Hershberger, pastor of Hollidaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, who spoke about the idea that each of us is called to be a "reflector" of the love of Jesus Christ. Craig Smith, executive minister of Atlantic Northeast District, spurred conference-goers to "go and do likewise" after a message describing what transformation looks like in individuals and the church. Worship services also included communion and anointing.

When not worshiping, young adults participated in several other activities. Padare (workshop) sessions were held on topics ranging from storytelling to Bible study to immigration reform. "Joyful Noise" sessions gave participants a chance to sing favorite hymns while learning a few new tunes. Small groups, called Community Groups, met several times throughout the weekend.

A Coffeehouse affirmed that the Church of the Brethren has been given many talented young adults. Musical numbers included driving rhythms, rich guitar chords, and lyrics in at least two languages. Humor was a frequent guest in the room as well; participants had a hard time taking seriously the musician who wore an over-sized orange foam cowboy hat.

In addition to providing information on its services, Mutual Aid Association held a free ice-cream social and a drawing for door prizes.

The weekend ended with hugs and goodbyes to new and old friends. Hopefully, many will re-unite next year over Memorial Day weekend at Camp Harmony in Hooversville, Pa. Also, young adults are encouraged to begin making plans now to attend the second National Young Adult Conference, June 9-13, 2008, at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colo.

Source: 6/21/2006 Newsline

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