2018 'Youth Annual Gathering' drew participants from ten Memphis Conference churches
The 2018 Youth Annual Gathering (YAG) included, clockwise from top left, learning about ministry in Africa, serving in the community, preparing blessing bags and worship. (Submitted photos)
Approximately 100 youth, college students and youth workers representing ten churches from throughout the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church participated in the 2018 Youth Annual Gathering (YAG), June 3-5, at Broadway United Methodist Church in downtown Paducah, Kentucky.
Participating churches were Arcadia, Bolivar, Broadway, Calvert City, Capleville, Covenant, Germantown, Halls, Shiloh and Trinity (Paducah), according to Rev. Amanda Crice, campus minister of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Tennessee in Martin, Tennessee, and Memphis Conference youth coordinator.
YAG was designed to “help us understand the importance of gathering as Christians and living into our call as gathering Christians to be a sign of God's Kingdom," said Crice. "Specifically, we are trying to emphasize the fact that youth have a part of this work now.”
After checkin and orientation on Friday, Saturday’s events included worship, followed by a Skype conversation with United Methodist missionary Eric Soard in Tanzania, Africa.
Youth conversed with Soard about how Soard understands the “See All the People” theme being used for YAG and the 2018 Memphis Annual Conference happening June 3-5 in Paducah, reported Crice.
“(Soard) talked about the importance of staying in love with the people you serve,” noted Crice
After lunch, the group went out into Paducah to practice “seeing all the people" by visiting nursing homes, as well as handing out “blessing bags” while walking around in downtown Paducah.
An afternoon panel discussion with Bishop William T. (Bill) McAlilly, facilitated by Josh Shaw, youth minister at Paris First UMC in Paris, Tennessee, addressed a variety of questions, including:
- What do you do if you feel like your passions do not align to the calling on your life?
- How can we “dream dreams” if society tells us they cannot come true?
- Where do I have the greatest opportunity to love others?
- How do we live into the call when the state of the church seems to be diminishing?
- How do we continue in the church for the long haul?
- How do we accept the call when we do not know the future of the local church?
The prayer walk also was shared with delegates to the 2018 Memphis Annual Conference.
YAG continued Sunday morning with worship at Broadway UMC, followed by a noon meal with Broadway UMC’s Community Kitchen ministry – a way to “see all the people,” explained Crice.
In the lead-up to YAG, youth also participated in a selfie scavenger hunt, the "see all the people"-themed photos from which were presented to Bishop McAlilly as a framed collage.