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Youth event draws 300 to workshops, service, fun

Nearly 300 youth and adults from every conference in the region gathered for the Western Regional Youth Event at Seattle University June 29 to July 3 for worship, workshops, service projects and exploring Seattle. 

closing circle

Tara Barber, right, with the closing circle for PNC participants, thanking them for helping.
Photos courtesy of Margaret Irribarra

About 100 youth participants from the Pacific Northwest Conference  provided hospitality for visiting youth.  The PNC group represented more than 19 churches, reported Tara Barber, who co-coordinated the event with Susan Andresen.  

“We had a day of workshops—organized by Margaret Irribarra—that reconnected us to our faith, and challenged us to live our faith in our daily lives,” Tara said. 

The next day, participants went out into the region to participate in service projects at the Mountains to Sound Greenway, Food Lifeline, Mary’s Place, Northwest Harvest and several other sites. 

Kathryn Murdock, an alum of the Justice Leadership Program, made the connections with the work sites, and arranged for use of the Metro. 

hawaiian worship
Six Hawaiian participants led a WRYE worship service and taught a Hawaiian song.

Our third day was spent having fun in the city and at a local water park,” said Tara noting that Audrey Ouellette planned the day.

The Rev. Dee Eisenhauer met a group on Bainbridge and hosted an island visit. 

The WRYE Facebook page includes a photo of youth from Northern California Nevada Conference at the Space Needle on their way to the Just Living Farm in the Yakama Valley.  They also joined in the Seattle Pride Parade.

Another group went to Pioneer Square, the Underground Tour and Pike Place Market.


Youth painted a mural as part of a service project.

“We were inspired by the music and speakers of the event.” Tara said.   “The band Lost and Found joined us, sharing their fun, faithful music, accompanying worship and offering a concert as well. 

“The Rev. Julian (J  Kwest) DeShazer preached and rapped, reminding us why we came—to love, serve, and fight injustice,” she said.

Motivational speaker Hoan Do pushed participants past their inner critics to embrace their potential. 

“Singer, songwriter Mary Lambert testified to the power of love and faith to carry us through hard times,” Tara said. 

“Waltrina Middleton, minister for youth advocacy and leadership formation with the national UCC Local Church Ministries, blessed us with her presence and invited us to the next National Youth Event at Walt Disney World in 2016,” said Tara.

During the week, Hawaiian youth hosted a worship service teaching participants to sing a song in parts and sing the Lord’s Prayer in Hawaiian.

During the Northern California Nevada Conference worship youth discussed how they “pass the peace” in their different churches. “It was a powerful week. 

“A youth-led worship culminated in our closing service, where Liberation UCC sang, led a WRYE choir, the Rev. Brandon Duran preached, and the youth offered their prayers of petition, confession, lament, and praise,” Tara said. 


Youth joined in games and activities to help them get acquainted with each other.
Photos courtesy of Nathan Fitz

“We ended on an emotional high,” she said.

“We had been sent out by our local churches to attend the event, and ended with being commissioned to go back out into our communities and change the world with our love and faith,” Tara said.

WRYE coordinators Tara and Susan are grateful for all who helped with planning, made donations, participated and “loved this event into being.”

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Copyright October 2014 © Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ Conference News



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