Friday, August 31, 2007


The 2007-08 National Youth Cabinet held its first meeting Aug. 1-3 in Elgin, Ill., giving input for the Church of the Brethren’s denominational youth program, selecting a 2008 youth ministry theme, developing resources for the 2008 National Youth Sunday, and preparing for the denomination's 300th anniversary.

Elizabeth Willis of Tryon, N.C., Tricia Ziegler of Sebring, Fla., Joel Rhodes of Huntingdon, Pa., Seth Keller of Dover, Pa., Turner Ritchie of Richmond, Ind., and Heather Popielarz of Prescott, Mich., are serving on the cabinet. Dena Gilbert of La Verne, Calif., is serving as advisor to the group, along with Chris Douglas, Youth/Young Adult Ministries director for the Church of the Brethren General Board.

The cabinet settled on "By the Manner of Their Living" for next year's youth ministry theme, drawing on a familiar quote attributed to Alexander Mack Sr. for the denomination's 300th anniversary year. Mack is considered the founder of the Church of the Brethren. The theme scripture is Colossians 3:12-15. Resources will be drawn on this theme for the National Youth Sunday scheduled for May 4, 2008.

In addition, the group issued a 300th anniversary challenge to youth groups across the denomination, following up on a General Board challenge to do something in multiples of 300 for the anniversary year, such as rebuilding 300 homes in disaster areas or having 300 more people participate in summer workcamps. Suggestions to youth groups include giving 300 hours of service, preparing 300 school kits for disaster relief, giving 300 cans of food to a local food pantry, or offering 300 prayers of peace.

The meeting also included conversations about Brethren Volunteer Service, a tour of the offices, and several times of worship. The cabinet next meets July 31-Aug. 3, 2008, in Elgin.

--Walt Wiltschek is editor of “Messenger” magazine for the Church of the Brethren General Board.

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