In Review: RYC Year Halfway Over

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BY HANNA JACKSON |

RYC opening cookout photo

A group photo from the RYC Opening Cookout. Photo by Hanna Jackson/Moravian BCM

As the end of 2017 has come and gone and the beginning of 2018 is here, I think about the past few months of Regional Youth Council (RYC) and what we have in store for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year. This past fall we had some amazing events, both for RYC and the greater province youth.

To help knock out Senior High Camp planning, we had a great lock-in at Macedonia Moravian Church. This was a wonderful event for many reasons: 1) We were able to bond with each other early in the school year, 2) we got the majority of Senior High topics picked out and ready for Laurel Ridge to use for camp, and 3) we were able to attend a different Moravian church to see how they worship on Sunday.

Youth Fall Rally pictures

Photos from the Youth Fall Rally. Photos by Hanna Jackson/Moravian BCM

Next on the schedule was the Youth Fall Rally that was held at Friedland. Thanks to many parents of RYC members we had lots of pumpkins to carve, a DIY caramel apple station, and then we closed the night with s’mores and campfire.

For the event after the fall rally, we headed up the mountain to have our fall retreat at Laurel Ridge! During our time on the mountain, the Rev. Carol Foltz led us in learning about some of the amazing Moravian leaders in our past. We also helped Laurel Ridge by painting some of the cabins, and ended the weekend with a beautiful snow fall!

group photo of RYC

The RYC poses for a quick group photo before their fall retreat at Laurel Ridge. Photo by Andrew David Cox/Moravian BCM

 

Photo of the RYC working at Laurel Ridge

Members of the RYC participate in painting a cabin at Laurel Ridge. Photo by Hanna Jackson/Moravian BCM

We had an amazing first half of the year with the RYC, and look forward to a just as great a second half! Coming up we have a mission trip, a youth lovefeast, and a suicide awareness and prevention seminar.

In March, we are planning on offering the suicide awareness and prevention talk shop. It’ll be offered to the RYC representatives and their parents. During talk shop, the parents and youth will split up to discuss this important, but often unspoken topic, with Ruth Cole Burcaw and Rev. Kelly Moore leading. Hopefully this event will shed some light on suicide prevention and open up an important line of communication.

In April, the RYC will be hosting a provincial spring event at Hopewell Moravian Church. The details of this event are still in the works, but it will be an exciting time of fellowship and spiritual growth. Not to mention, there’s going to be a lovefeast!

The RYC also wanted to help the many families that were victims of the devastating hurricanes that affected Texas and Florida this past summer and early fall. In June, we are planning to take a group to Texas to help with some of the recovery work that is still happening. This will be a wonderful time of bonding, growth, and mission for all that are involved. This is an exciting trip to be able to take as a group and we look forward to lending a hand to those in need.

While we have many events planned for the next few months, we will still have plenty of time to do our favorite RYC activities such as singing, fellowship, and spiritual and leadership growth. These next few months are sure to be filled with exciting events for the group and I can’t wait to see all that is planned pan out. I wouldn’t be able to do any of these exciting events if it wasn’t for my wonderful adult advisors, parents, and RYC reps that make planning and organizing these events so much fun!


Questions? Comments? Contact Hanna at Hanna@MoravianBCM.org or call (336) 722-8126 Ext. 403

Hanna Jackson

Hanna Jackson is the RYC Coordinator for the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). She attends Calvary Moravian Church in Winston Salem. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, baking, and crafting.


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The Inspiring Youth of the RYC

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BY HANNA JACKSON |

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

                                                                                                                        1 Timothy 4:12

This verse is so brilliantly reflected by the youth that I have had the privilege to work with while in the Interim RYC Coordinator position.

The Regional Youth Council (RYC) is a group of high school age youth from the different Moravian churches throughout the Southern Province. They meet monthly to plan events for the province, grow in their faith, and build friendships with other Moravians their age.

 

RYC Shirt graphic

The 2017 RYC shirt artwork

 

I was in RYC when I was in high school and have fond memories of my time as a representative. Being on RYC was the highlight of my high school career; I met my best friends through RYC, I was surrounded by other Moravians, and had a blast laughing at Brad Bennett and John G. Rights try to “out pun” one another. For me, RYC was more than just a monthly meeting, it was my life.

When I accepted the job offer as the Interim RYC Coordinator, I was really excited and hopeful about the summer for many reasons. I wanted to make sure the youth that are currently in RYC have as amazing memories as I did. After sitting down with the adult advisors of RYC, we discussed different ideas on what the youth might enjoy for this coming year. After leaving this meeting, I got to work to put these ideas in place. I have spent time coordinating the time, place, and activities of this coming year’s events. I have also worked on compiling a list of all the RYC reps from the different churches. Every year, with seniors graduating and new freshmen rising, we have a new set of youth involved in the group. This brings me to my favorite part of the job: the youth!!!

 

2010 RYC

The 2010 RYC

 

Since RYC doesn’t meet in the summer, I haven’t had a lot of time to spend with the current reps, but I was lucky enough to tag along with Doug to the last few events of the 2016-2017 school year. These kids are amazing!! Watching them interact with each other, as well as the adult advisors is inspiring. There is such hope and joy in their conversations. Asking the youth about their plans in life, where they wanted to go to college… what they wanted to do to was uplifting and encouraging. Seeing this really encouraged me to plan this next school year.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

                                                                                                                        Philippians 4:6-7

As many of these youths move on to college or explore their career choices, and even the ones still in high school, I hope they remember their time spent in RYC. Remember the lessons, laughter, friendship and fellowship. They are ready to take on the world, and God has great plans for them.

 

The 2017 RYC

The 2017 RYC

 


Questions? Comments? Contact Amy Linville at Hanna@MoravianBCM.org or call (336) 722-8126 Ext. 403

Hanna Jackson

 

Hanna Jackson is the Interim RYC Coordinator for the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). She attends Calvary Moravian Church in Winston Salem. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, baking, and crafting.

Youth Matter! Part Two: Serving College Students

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BY DOUG RIGHTS |

A few months ago I wrote a blog about our Moravian college students and the importance of making them feel connected to their congregations while away. With a new school year underway, it is a good time to revisit how churches can serve and meet the needs of their college students.

Even though many of our college students are away from home and away from their church homes, that does not mean they should feel disconnected from home. Our college students are an important part of our churches.

College-Age Cookout

College-age cookout

In my previous blog, I shared some ways our churches can stay connected to our college students. I would like to highlight some of these ideas again and have added some fresh ones.

  • Have someone who is responsible for knowing who your college students are and how to contact them. (I would appreciate getting a list of your college students and contact information so I can contact them too).
  • Have someone from your congregation contact your college students to check in with them. Find out how they are doing. Ask if there is anything your church can do for them.
  • Make sure they get your church mailings, newsletters, and any other church information that goes out.
Moravian students at Christ the King luncheon

Moravian students at Christ the King luncheon

  • Have people in your church take a special interest in caring for a college student (adopt-a-student). Pray for that student and keep in touch with him or her or them.
  • Send care packages, especially during exam times or at the beginning of a semester.
  • Have someone in your church visit them and take them out for a meal.
  • When they are home and come to church, make sure you welcome them back.
  • When they are home, offer them opportunities to get together with other students such as at cookouts, going out to dinner after church, or have some type of class for them. For something like this to happen, it is best to have someone willing to do it and be responsible for it.
  • Also realize that not everyone is called to attend college. Be supportive of everyone who is college age.
Moravian students at Appalachian State this fall

Moravian students at Appalachian State this fall

When the time comes that our college students graduate, they may remain close to your church or they may be far away. Whatever the case, may all of our churches be faithful in carrying out their ministries to college students as they continue to journey with the Lord!


If you have questions or need additional information, email (drightsATmcsp.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.

The Rev. Doug Rights is the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). 

Doug with wife Kathy

Summer Camps Making a Difference

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A wonderful part about summer in the Southern province is our summer camps at Laurel Ridge, our Moravian Camp and Conference Center. During the summer months we have a variety of camps whichCampers worshiping include our Mission Camps, an Arts Camp, an Eco Camp, and our Summer Camp. Our Summer Camps are available for those who are Pre-Junior (grades 1-2), Junior (grades 3-5), Middle High (grades 6-8), and Senior High (grades 9-12), and the other camps are for older youth. Besides youth being involved in our camps, we also have several adults in our province who serve as deans and counselors for in the camps. We also have a great group of college students who serve on  the M-Staff, the summer staff who maintain the camp grounds and lead various activities.

Our camps are wonderful opportunities for all who attend to make connections. There is the connection with nature as you spend time in beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. There is the connection with other people as you live and share in a community setting. There is the connection with God as you have opportunities to focus on God’s presence, to experience God’s love, and to let God make a difference in your life not only in your time at camp but also as you go from camp to your daily living. One of the great things I saw at one of our recent summer camps was a Campers in small groupyoung person who began the week saying he had never felt God’s love and did not believe in God. By the end of the week I saw how he experienced God’s love through others, and he shared that he was a believer!

I will admit that one of the drawbacks of our summer camping program at Laurel Ridge is the distance between our camp in the North Carolina mountains and our churches in Florida. In talking with some of the youth leaders in Florida, we hope that one day we will have more of our Florida youth be able to come and experience God’s blessings at Laurel Ridge.Campers at a meal

Even so, our camps are going strong, and they do make a difference!

If you have questions or need additional information, email (drightsATmcsp.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.

The Rev. Doug Rights is the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). 

Youth Matter!

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June 14, 2016

I work with many special groups in my role as Director of Youth, College and Young Adult Ministries.  Two of them are our Regional Youth Councils (RYC).  Due to distance, one Regional Youth Council is composed of representatives and adult advisors from our Moravian churches in North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. The other Regional Youth Council is composed of representatives and adult advisors from our Moravian churches in Florida. While I work throughout the year with the RYC for North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, I also visit our Florida churches at least two times a year for their youth events, and when there, will often meet with the Florida RYC.

Regional Youth Council

Each Regional Youth Council works to:

  • Glorify God through service and mission to/for youth groups in the province with an attitude of selfless love an acceptance for each other and those we serve.
  • Be a representative council serving the province by providing the communications link between churches.
  • Develop unity and friendship within the province among youth, thereby striving to unify the youth ministries program of the Southern Province.
  • Assist with the planning and coordinating of provincial youth activities.

(from the Regional Youth Council Constitution)

Our NC/VA/GA Regional Youth Council has monthly meetings during the school months and an annual Winter Retreat at Laurel Ridge. They carry out mission projects, plan provincial youth events, and help plan the Senior High Camp at Laurel Ridge. Our FL Regional Youth Council meets two to three times a year. They also plan youth events for the Florida District, including their Winter Youth Retreat, a Beach Bash & service project, and Christian music events such as Night of Joy at Disney or Rock the Universe at Universal Studios.

Florida Regional Youth Council

Both Regional Youth Councils are active and important groups in our province. Both provide great opportunities to keep our youth connected, to give them opportunities to serve, to help develop leadership among our youth, and to let them make a difference in our province and for the Lord! They also provide a lot of excitement, a lot of fun, and a lot of joy to the ministry of our province!

If you have questions or need additional information, email (drightsATmcsp.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.

The Rev. Doug Rights is the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). 

Let’s Remember Our Moravian College Students

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MAY 11, 2016

As our province’s Director of Youth, College and Young Adult Ministries, it’s my pleasure to spend a lot of time with our college-age Moravians, those eighteen-years-old to their early twenties. Many of our college-age Moravians are in college, while some work, and some do both.

And even though the school year is winding down, let me tell you about our Moravians who are in college. As best we can determine, we have around 300 Moravians from the Southern Province in college. Some attend schools in Florida, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania, but most of them attend North Carolina colleges and universities.

College picture for blog 5-10-16

Since our college students are often away at school, they can sometimes be forgotten. It is part of my job to always remember them, and I urge you to remember them as well. Stop by the office and check out my collection of college mugs (as seen in the picture with this article) which represent the schools where our Moravians attend. My job also includes doing all I can to help our students feel connected to the Lord and to the Moravian Church. Some of the ways I keep connections are through correspondences (Facebook messages, emails, texts), visits, offering spring break mission trips, and hosting cookouts during Christmas and summer breaks.

It’s important we do all we can to help our students feel connected to our church families. Here are a few simple ways to remember our college-age Moravians:

  • Know who your college students are and where they attend.
  • Send them church mailings.
  • Send care packages, especially during exam times. This is a great activity for circles and Sunday School classes.
  • Have someone in your church visit them and take them out for a meal.
  • When many of them are home this summer, make the extra effort to let them know you are glad to see them back.
  • Offer opportunities for your college students to get together.
  • When some of them feel called to serve on mission trips, provide prayer support and financial support.

If we do not forget our college students and we are faithful in our service to them, no matter where God’s plan and purpose for their lives take them, they will not forget their church homes! They will not forget our Moravian Church!

If you have questions or need additional information, email (drightsATmcsp.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.

The Rev. Doug Rights is the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). 

Confirmation… An Ever Changing Process

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APRIL 18, 2016

Growing up in the Presbyterian Church and being confirmed as a teenager is not so vastly different from the process that Moravians take in their confirmation practices. Those memories of confirmation for me are everlasting. I developed relationships with adult mentors who cared enough about me to help me in this step in my faith. I truly felt like a worthy member of a congregation when given tasks during confirmation, such as baking communion bread with my family, and preparing the elements for a communion Sunday. Even the small task of making sure there was a glass of water in the pulpit each Sunday for the pastor… it may seem meaningless, but it is far from that. I learned the importance of even the smallest of tasks and made those next steps in my faith journey. It truly made me feel like a member of a congregation that could contribute something.

Book Cover

Click above image to see more about this book at our online Resource Center library!

As I was fortunate enough to spend some time this year reflecting on my faith journey and what each step meant to me, I ran across a new book, 100 Things Every Child Should Know Before Confirmation: A Guide for Parents and Youth Leaders. It was written by Rebeccca Kirkpatrick and published by Westminister John Knox Press in 2015. What a read it is! Not only for parents, but Sunday School teachers and youth leaders, as we strive to make confirmation be the most meaningful experience it can be. Drop by the Resource Center and borrow it for an excellent read about planting, feeding, watching growth, and understanding an experience such as confirmation.

In Bill Gramley’s piece for Moravian confirmation, Confirmation: A Graceful Step, he refers to confirmation as an opportunity for young people to make a public profession of their faith in Jesus Christ. It is a time when they confirm the steps that have already been taken for them by their parents or guardians, usually by virtue of infant baptism. It allows them to become more aware of the meaning of Christianity and be more deliberate in their response to God’s purpose for their lives. Confirmation is one of the milestones of faith that congregations can celebrate with a young person. It is truly an important step as it gives the opportunity to learn more about the Bible, theology, and what it means to be a member of a Moravian church.

Rev. Matthew Allen leading confirmation on Palm Sunday this year at Olivet Moravian.

Rev. Matthew Allen leading confirmation on Palm Sunday this year at Olivet Moravian.

Many of your churches may be at the end of this process with confirmation taking place during Holy Week or Pentecost. I challenge you not to stop here. We are offering a wonderful opportunity this summer for you to take this process one step further. At the August 14, 2016 Moravian Children’s Festival and Lovefeast, attendees will have the unique opportunity to visit many of the provincial agencies and learn about the work that they do for the church. This event is open to Moravians of all ages! The street will be closed and groups will be able to walk from the square, up Church Street to God’s Acre, stopping at the Board of Cooperative Ministries offices and Resource Center, Board of World Mission, and more. Make your plans now to bring your confirmation group even if you have ended the process. What a wonderful opportunity to continue those treasured relationships you have developed by showing the workings of the Moravian Church.Beth Hayes portrait

It is truly a graceful step, but just one of the first steps of following Jesus. It is not the end of one’s faith journey, but a gift that is received by our faith and proven through discoveries yet to be revealed. Help your young people continue this journey! Bring them to the Children’s Festival and use the opportunity to enrich their faith journey, as well as see the buildings and people that make up the Moravian Church today.

If you have questions or need additional information, email (bhayesATmcsp.org) or call the Resource Center (336) 722-8126.

 

Beth Hayes is the Director of Congregational Ministries and Resources, Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM)