Our 2019 writing team captain, Caroline Powell, had a conversation with one of our students, Ann Clark Bellamy, following our first NightLife together.  Here is what they said:

“NightLife is honestly my favorite part of my week. I look forward to it every week because it is such a great way to step out of the hustle of my busy week and to find peace in God’s love. I love getting to spend time in fellowship and worship before I start my school week. Each week, we get to eat dinner in fellowship, play games, worship and sing together. This year, I hope that the group learns more than ever. Our youth program is so special and I really hope that we all get the most out of it. The leaders do the absolute best with leading us in worship and making it so fun! I hope this can be the best year yet!”

Ann Clark Bellamy, sophomore

“Last week the youth group had our first NightLife of the year and it was a great success! As we continue with our study of Galatians, I hope you all decide to come give NightLife a try! I promise you won’t regret it!”

– Caroline Powell, junior

Hi Church Streeters,

I am writing this as a way to sum up what the youth internship at Church Street has meant to me.

When I started talking to Jenny about the youth internship she told me there was one huge thing to keep in mind: youth ministry will wreck you. I couldn’t wrap my head around what that would mean at the time, but I jumped head first into this job when Jenny had Cooper. I went into this job thinking I would get some teaching experience and go on the retreats that I had loved attending as a student. I received so much more than a line on a resume and a few weekends off campus. I expected to teach the lesson each week, maybe have some laughs with the students, then go home. I didn’t know I would go home and tell my roommates about the incredible answers youth would share at Nightlife. I didn’t know I would lay awake worrying about them. I didn’t know I would feel so proud when they came to church talking about the soccer game their team won, or the play they got that part in, or the driving test they passed. I didn’t know I would love them so much sometimes it makes me cry.

Over time, Church Street started to feel like the home it was for me as a youth again. I tried plenty of campus ministries and other churches in college, but none ever felt truly like home for me. I went into being the youth intern with a lot of assumptions about what I thought I would get out of it and what I thought I could offer.

It took me a year at this internship to know what Jenny meant about youth ministry wrecking a person. I was going thru the photos for the legacy wall being set up after the youth area renovation. I started with the oldest digital photos on file from around 2004. I saw the smiling faces of so many people I grew up with. I saw all of the braces phases and home tie-dyed shirts. I kept getting distracted thinking about how all of these people were out in the world living their lives now. Most of them were in college or working, some were getting married, a few were traveling the world. All of them started out as silly brace-faced middle schoolers learning about the love of Jesus. They sat in the same rooms for Nightlife and went on the same retreats I had. Through those pictures, I watched all of my peers grow up. I realized that the the legacy of Church Street was this opportunity in youth to offer students what home feels like. I grew up with so many incredible people at Church Street. People who went out into the world with a solid foundation of how home felt: full of love, grace, and support. Home feels like safety and people who ask about your sports and arts. Home feels like people who point you to Jesus when you feel lost. Home feels like people leaning in and loving you in your most awkward years when you don’t even know who you are. This internship gave me the gift of seeing the whole picture. I got to be a part of this legacy of people who are loved by this group. Then I got to come back and give love to new students.

I finally get what Jenny meant. Youth ministry wrecks you because it cracks open your heart and lets everyone in. It wrecks you because you feel every high and low with the youth. It wrecks you because it has to feel like the way Jesus loves us all and always has room to love a few more. Youth ministry showed me that there is always room for another person to find out what home feels like.

I am not sure how to end this except to say thank you. Thank you to all of the people who volunteer with Church Street Youth for being so loving and supportive. Thank you to these students for welcoming a me into their lives. Thank you to Jenny for giving me a chance to be wrecked in the very best way by youth ministry.

As county and private schools fall back into the swing of the new school year, so does Church Street. From moving up to the next Sunday School class to preparing our hearts and minds through song and prayer, the school year is officially underway.

On August 11, children gathered at the altar with their backpacks to receive a special blessing for the school year. Children and youth met their new Sunday School teachers who will shepherd them through the year in their Christian education. After worship, our children’s choirs kicked off their rehearsals for the year.

Upcoming Activities for Children, Youth, and Families: 

August 17-18 – Parish Youth Choir Retreat

August 18 – Back-to-School Family Prayer Time (4pm, Nave)

August 25 – Youth back-to-school party at 5pm in the Gym

Photos from Promotion Sunday and Blessing of the Backpacks:

My first time going on a Resurrection retreat was overwhelming to say the least.

Hearing that thousands of youth from all over the region would be in one place made me both excited and slightly terrified. Worship to me was supposed to be a calm, peaceful experience. Why were there all these bright lights and speakers so loud that the music shook my whole body? At first, I didn’t know any of the songs, and I was certain that being surrounded by strangers in a mosh pit at the foot of the stage wasn’t really my thing. Yet I soon came to realize that that was the beauty of it. Because by the end of the weekend I was at the very front singing along to every word.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what the speaker said that weekend back in 2013, but I do remember feeling like I took a step in my faith. Since then, every Resurrection I have been on has yielded the same result: learning something new, and growing spiritually. This year, we talked about grace, a topic with which Jenny has made us very familiar. Ultimately, everyone has a different faith story. Some people experience big, light switch events, while others figure it out a little bit at a time. The common denominator in both of these scenarios is the presence of God’s grace through it all. From cradle to grave, it is there; before we are even born and well after we are gone. And at Resurrection, there is something for everyone to learn no matter what part of the faith journey they are on. 

I always look forward to our yearly pilgrimage to Pigeon Forge. The drive through the mountains always seems to bring back great memories of past Resurrections. To me, it is about the fellowship more than anything else. Because when you grow closer to others, you grow closer to God.

– Mac Chandler, senior

Focus Verse – 1 John 4:13 “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”

SLA is always a weekend I look forward to throughout the year. It is a time of fellowship, togetherness and growing closer in a relationship with God, as well as friends. I was especially looking forward to this weekend because of the busyness of my schedule; including school and extracurriculars. I needed a time to take a breath from my ongoing schedule and re-familiarize myself with my relationship with Christ.

Enjoying time together at SLA 2018

Throughout the weekend, we discussed how we are all children of God and we’re made in God’s image. In small groups, we talked about our daily routines, such as brushing our teeth and making our bed, and how we can incorporate a small act of stillness to be with Christ during these ordinary acts. This mindfulness for a few minutes everyday will slowly feed into our daily routines and help us have the right mindset for the rest of the day. I loved this new idea and now, being a few weeks after SLA, I have taken time to be still with God for a few minutes everyday, which has incredibly changed my perspective and given me a pair of fresh eyes each day. It has allowed me to see God perform in different ways throughout my day and it has shown me how we really are made in God’s image.

One thing that really stayed with me from SLA was the idea of the Holy Spirit. We discussed how God presents himself in many different ways throughout our lives; the Holy Spirit being one of these ways. After this discussion, we began to pray with our hands open, instead of clenched together. This different way of praying felt refreshing and made me feel more open to God. By opening our hands, we are giving up our burdens to God and letting him take control; though, with clenched fists, we cannot receive his Grace. SLA has always been my favorite weekend of the year.  It feels like coming up for a breath of fresh air after ‘drowning’ in everyday obstacles.

– Mary Kate Holladay, Sophomore