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Youth explore Higher Things

March 21, 2011 No Comment

by James Morgan 

Youth gathered in Mount Forest, Ontario for a Higher Things one-day retreat.

Mount Forest, Ontario was the appropriately named location for the first Higher Things Day Retreat in Canada. With the theme “The Law, the Gospel…and the Rest of Your Life!” the March 18th event at St. John’s Lutheran Church, presented by the Hanover Circuit, attracted more than 90 youth, adults and pastors from across the East District, including Nova Scotia.

The day started with Matins, led by Pastor David Saar of St. John’s, with the sermon by Pastor Jody Rinas of St. John’s, Clifford. The main highlight of the day was the plenary sessions led by Pastor George Borghardt of McHenry, Illinois and conference executive of Higher Things.

In the morning session, Pastor Borghardt focused on the difference between the law and Gospel, using the first three chapters of Romans as examples of the law and how it shows Christians their sinful nature and the consequences of sin.

In the afternoon session, Pastor Borghardt focused on God’s grace and the new life we receive in Him through baptism and Christ’s death and resurrection. “There’s no dodging the law, but the righteousness of God manifests itself apart from the law,” he said, adding that the righteousness of God comes to us by grace.

Pastor Borghardt told the youthful crowd not to use the law to figure out the rest of their lives, but instead to focus on their freedom in Christ. “I like how he (Pastor Borghardt) brought things down to a youth point of view,” said Jake Bromhall, a high school student from St. Catharines who attended the retreat.

Nigel Prozenko and his sister Hannah attend Faith Lutheran Church in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and travelled all the way to Mount Forest for the retreat. They found it encouraging to see other Lutheran youth from other places. “It helped me tie up loose ends, it gave me hope,” said Nigel about the sessions with Pastor Borghardt.

Plenary speaker Pastor George Borghardt is conference executive for Higher Things

An “opportunity to impact young people’s lives with Christ,” is what Pastor Borghardt calls his work with Higher Things, adding he wants to “give them comfort that will last.”

Breakout sessions during the day included Pastor Ken Maher discussing Seeing Christ in the Cinema while Pastor David Gallas of gave new insight into the parable of the prodigal son. Pastor Mark Koehler intertwined Lutheran history in Canada with the Gospel, and Pastor Marvin Bublitz offered words of hope from St. Peter to Christians finding it difficult to fit into the society around them.

The retreat concluded with an afternoon Vespers service led by Pastor Saar and a sermon by Pastor Kurt Reinhardt of Trinity Lutheran Church in Kurtzville. Pastor Robert Clifford of Grace Lutheran Church in Kincardine and Southampton Lutheran Church provided musical accompaniment with his trumpet to organist Michael Nieminen of Grace Lutheran Church, Kitchener. The youth also had the opportunity to become better acquainted through a fun activity led by Nancy Mattys, a local teacher and member of St. John’s, Mount Forest.

Higher Things is an organization serving the youth of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and now, Lutheran Church–Canada. It holds national conferences in the summer, publishes a quarterly magazine, conducts college campus ministry, and holds weekend retreats. The mission of Higher Things is; “to assist parents, congregations, and pastors in cultivating and promoting a Lutheran identity among youth.” For more information, check out http://higherthings.org

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