Church of the Resurrection

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Ministry: RezYouth

Provincial Youth Gathering

March 26, 2017

Every three years, over 1,000 Anglicans from across North America gather for an incredible time of worship, teaching, and prayer at the Provincial Assembly. Usually these conferences are a plane-flight away, but this year's conference is being hosted by Resurrection at Wheaton College!

As part of the Assembly, a Youth Gathering has been organized where youth groups will join the adults for morning sessions and then have their own breakout sessions with prominent speakers, in addition to games and other activities. This is an all-inclusive (food + lodging) three-day experience!

Additionally, since the theme of the conference is "Mission on Our Doorstep," we'll partner with other Anglican youth groups for a four-day mission trip to Chicago. I visited the missions organization we are partnering with and they are the real deal. I expect that our students’ hearts for mission and for the lost and the least will grow through this experience. 

Please speak to your child about this incredible opportunity. You may have already seen the Save the Date that went home with them from RezYouth. For more information and some FAQ's (safety? how will we pay for this?), please see our info site here and attend the upcoming Student/Parent Info Meeting on 4/19, from 6:30-7:00pm, in the St. Timothy room.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Tell me more about the Provincial Assembly…
Is this event for youth or adults?
 
BOTH! And we don’t just mean that youth are invited to a conference that’s really for their parents! Will has been working with a team of Anglican youth pastors from around the country to make sure that that our afternoon and evening programming is specifically targeted at Junior and Senior High students. Our students will have their own breakout sessions, their own time with plenary speakers, their own worship, and their own games and activities. The significantly discounted rate for youth is evidence of the Province’s investment in our students. 

My child is only able to come to the Assembly and not the mission trip. Is that okay? 
Yup! 

Who is supervising? 
RezYouth leaders will be staying in the dorms with students and supervising just like we would during a RezYouth retreat. 

I would to like to register my child to come to the conference, but I don’t want them to participate in the Youth Gathering. I want them to attend the conference with me. 
The RezYouth registration form is only for RezYouth students participating in the Youth Track. 

If you want your student to join you for the entirety of the conference and do not want them to participate in the Youth Gathering, you must register them with you using your information on the Provincial website. After filling out your information, under additional fees, enter the number of youth ages 13-18 who will be joining you. The additional ticket cost of $135 will be added to your adult registration. (Please note: only youth who are participating in the Youth Track may stay on campus with RezYouth students and volunteers). 

All adults must register through the official registration form. Don’t forget, if you live locally and do not need to stay on campus, you can register for a reduced price of $175 by using the discount code CHICAGOLAND. This code is strictly for local residents; please do not use this code for out-of-town friends, or if you would like to stay on-campus. 

Tell me more about the mission trip…
Who are you partnering with? 

We will be serving under the direction of the Center for Student Missions (CSM), which runs student mission trips in eleven cities in the United States and Mexico. Their purpose is to provide an “urban ministry experience that transforms lives, influences churches and communities, and honors Christ.”

What’s the CSM philosophy? 
CSM is a bridge-builder. They partner with existing organizations who have been serving the city of Chicago and will continue to do so long after our group leaves. In addition to serving, CSM wants students to experience the city and learn about its challenges. That means learning about the history of the neighborhoods we’re serving, eating at local restaurants, and getting to know folks living in the city. CSM is committed to doing ministry under principles discussed in books like When Helping Hurts.

What kinds of things will our students be doing? 
Since our group is so large (including the other youth groups from around the Province), it’s impossible to give an exact itinerary, but activities will likely include volunteering at soup kitchens, prayer tours of neighborhoods, and (for high school students) immersion activities to experience what life is like for people on the margins.

Is this safe? 
YES! Our students will be staying on the campus of North Park University in the Albany Park neighborhood. CSM staff members will accompany us everywhere we go. 

It sounds great, but how will my family pay for this? 
We completely understand that money can feel like a significant barrier to this type of experience. That is why all students participating will be required to help fundraise to cover costs. RezYouth will lead a seminar for students on how to write support letters that are inviting and respectful. Additionally, while $399 is a steep price-tag, it is actually quite affordable in comparison to similar week-long experiences. We are confident that if a student is excited about growing their heart for mission through this experience, they will be able to raise every dollar needed.

How to Celebrate Advent as a Family

December 02, 2016

advent

ˈadˌvent/

noun
1. the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
synonyms: arrival, appearance, emergence, materialization, occurrence, dawn, birth, rise

Advent comes upon me suddenly every year, and I feel unprepared to provide a soulful Christmas preparation that is not solely baking and hunting for the best Christmas gifts. We end up doing some meaningful things, but I always feel a little harried.

This year I prepared in advance....maybe because it is the first year in many that I am not pregnant or caring for an infant. I thought I would offer some Advent suggestions for all who may read so that you might be jump started to get ready for this amazing season. Now is the time to make a plan and be ready for that first Sunday of Advent, right after Thanksgiving.

Advent is worth celebrating. Advent is considered the start of the liturgical year, as we prepare our hearts for Christ's coming--both in the end of time and in to our hearts more fully in the same way that he broke into this sinful world. A celebration of Advent saves the season from degenerating into a panicked commercialized circus. It reminds us for four weeks that we are not waiting on Santa, but on Jesus.

First, I would ask the Lord, "What do you want to do in me and in our family this Advent?" Then ask him to lead you to resources that will help make your Advent celebration intentional.

—The Advent wreath is a great tradition, partly because nothing quiets children and adults like darkness and a couple of burning candles. The symbolism of Christ bringing light into the darkness is right there before us. You do not need a specific Advent wreath to do this. I just bought a wreath of greens, wrapped a beautiful purple and gold ribbon around it, put four candle holders in the center of it with three purple candles and one pink one. (The pink one is for Mary, but you don't have to have a pink one). You will need a center candle of white for Christmas Day. We have a special table for the wreath, and on it we put a purple cloth we found at an ethnic resale shop. Along with the wreath, we usually put some nativity scene and an icon of John the Baptist, as the one who called us to prepare the way for Jesus. We let different children light candles, blow out the candles, and lead the prayers.

—This year I am going to use this small booklet you can find on Amazon for $1, O Radiant Dawn. It is a FIVE minute daily guide to lighting the candle, has beautiful selections of individual verses for each day and then asks a discussion question (one for older children or adults, one for younger children). It is good to have a short liturgy to do so that all can enter in. This book recommends learning the hymn, O Come, O Come Emmanuel by singing a verse everyday. You could choose any hymn. We will plan to do this everyday, and if we get in four days, that will be sixteen times around the wreath as a family. I may choose to do this in the morning starting the day, as it is dark where we live when we get up.

—In the evening, we will read a chapter in the storybook, Bartholomew's Passage: A Family Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide. The first one in his series is Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent, which we read for a couple of Advents. I will offer that whoever is reading may have to edit some violent scenes of Essenes defending themselves against marauders and such. This is a fiction series but helps place the nativity story in historical context, and we all learned through the story. Children are usually begging for the next chapter every night.

—Another chapter book that brings me to tears and my father has read to all of his grandchildren, as it is his favorite book, A Tree for Peter, by Kate Seredy. Though it is not directly about the nativity, it is all about opening our hearts to love and transformation, and this is catalyzed in the story by a Christ figure. You could also simply choose a different picture book every night. I will provide a list on another post, if you need suggestions.

—I will also be asking my children to choose one person or family who is in need for them to serve in some way over Advent. This could be making a meal, shoveling snow, free babysitting, writing someone who is lonely. I hope this will help pull them away from a self-focused expectation of Christmas.

—I am still praying about my own personal devotional time during Advent, specifically about what book God would have me read for the deeper stirring in my soul as I wait on him.

—A dear friend of ours brings Advent calendars every year for each child. The anticipation of opening each window is an exciting moment every day. Before we had the generosity of this friend, we all shared one calendar and took turns opening windows. This is a great way to build anticipation.

—Advent will also include beautiful music, and I have to admit that we are not liturgically correct and do listen to Christmas music during Advent. But here is a beautiful Advent collection: Birth of Jesus: A Celebration of Christmas by John Michael Talbot.

—And Advent will include baking, making Welsh Cakes for some friends. This happens throughout Advent with different children helping me on different days as they learn the family recipe and method. Then we all have fun packaging and distributing them.

—Try Joni Eareckson Tada's book of hymns that comes with a C.D. and a story about each hymn: O Come All Ye Faithful: Hymns of Adoration and Joy to Celebrate His Birth. This is a great book to work through over Advent, especially if your family is musical.

Many people use the Jesse Tree figures which you can google and download. These are figures that tell the story of the Scriptures over the whole of Advent and are a great way to review God's work in history leading up to his coming. You can find paper downloads and have children color them. I have a dream of felting these figures someday to hang on a tree, but that would mean getting ready for Advent in January, and I haven't yet gotten that good.

I hope that as you wait on God as to how you should live into Advent you will be able to see it not as a heavy burden, but as a tool through which to open your hearts and your homes to God's light. Remember, do not let perfection rob you of what God could bring. It will rarely be perfect or rarely what you imagined. But it will be full of life and laced with the presence of God himself.