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Four from PNC participate in youth ministries network

Because PNC has no staff person for youth ministries, it sent four lay leaders involved in Outdoor Ministries and in the Youth and Young Adult Task Forces to attend the national Network of Wider Church Youth Ministries in early December in New Orleans with 12 from other conferences.

national youth ministers network

Network of Wider Church Youth Ministries gathering in New Orleans.

Margaret Irribarra, Susan Andresen, Tara Olsen Allen and Kristen Almgren participated.

It was the third year for Irribara, youth minister at University Congregational UCC in Seattle and chair of the Youth and Young Adult Task Force.  Andresen planned the National Youth Event and Western Regional Youth Event. Almgren is co-chair of the Outdoor Ministries Committee. Olsen Allen at Bellingham First Congregational serves on the Youth and Young Adult Task Force.

“Gathering with others around the UCC, we shared ideas and resources for our work with youth and young adults,” said Margaret.

Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi of the national network presented a report to the UCC on faith formation she prepared on contract with the national UCC.

She explained the distinction between Christian education, spiritual formation and faith formation.

“Christian education is a school-based approach with a teacher-student model,” said Margaret.  “Spiritual formation is more about sharing faith through spiritual experiences, rather than Bible stories.  Faith formation brings together biblical stories with practice of faith in life.  It brings Christian education and spiritual formation together.

“The UCC is now talking about faith formation for youth, adults and families,” she said.

Kristina also discussed the role of the conference youth ministries in helping local churches, and discussed the difference between being creators of resources and curators of resources.

“Creating resources can mean we overwork or reinvent the wheel,” Margaret said.  “The each division of the national UCC has many resources.  Now it needs to put those resources in one place, so they are easy for people to find.”

Because the PNC has no conference youth/young adult staff, she suggests that curating resources is more practical.

“To be curators of faith formation resources at the conference level, we need to build relationships, so people know what the resources are, know where they are and know they are not alone,” she said.

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Copyright © December 2012 - Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ Conference News


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