Edmonton youth gathering hears about belonging

With registration topping out at more than 500 youth, leaders and speakers, Lutheran Church–Canada’s 2010 National Youth Gathering kicked off Friday evening at Edmonton’s University of Alberta. For five days, youth from across Canada will hear from guest speakers, including LCC’s president, Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, with the goal of affirming they are an important part of God’s family.

MC qSarah Wemyss welcomes the 2010 youth gathering crowd (Photo by Chris Bruer)

As with every gathering of youth there is a lot of fun, games and singing—and tonight was no exception. Emcee qSarah Wemyss led the warm-up which included activities that had the entire group moving, singing and laughing. Speaker Rev. Sye VanMaanen (Riverbend Lutheran, Edmonton) set out the evening’s theme in his presentation. He affirmed that the youth “belong to Christ. He has called you to be His own in the water’s of baptism.” Pastor VanMaanen recalled the story of Zacchaeus, a short, hated Jewish tax collector whom Jesus called to be His follower.

Later in the evening, Lynn Gergens (Walnut Grove Lutheran, Walnut Grove, B.C.) read the story as a group of volunteers acted it out on stage. Her message, based on the story, was that Jesus meets you where you are. She said that basically Jesus told Zacchaeus, “You don’t belong in the tree; you belong to Me.” The final presenter, Joel Haberstock (St. John’s Lutheran, Vernon, B.C.) reiterated the fact that as believers in Christ, we belong to Jesus and will spend eternity with Him.

Between speakers, the audience was treated to music by perennial gathering favourites Lost and Found; comedy by The These Guys; and worship music led by song leader Jennifer Jade Kerr (First Lutheran, Kelowna, B.C.) and the “house band.” Each of the groups performed in various venues later in the evening as part of a variety of breakout events including drama, sports, and a musical jam session.

Rev. Sye VanMaanen assures youth they belong to Christ because of their baptism (Photo by Chris Bruer)

The theme of the 2010 gathering is belong&believe>>believe&belong based on 1 Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

Saturday’s schedule includes a morning and evening plenary session with an afternoon of breakout groups on subjects like choir, drama, photography and dating for Christian teens.

Posted By: Matthew Block
Posted On: July 3, 2010
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