Thursday, June 17, 2010

Young adults ‘rock’ Camp Blue Diamond over Memorial Day weekend.

Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., was rockin’ this Memorial Day weekend. Four-square, footwashing, and four-part harmonies filled the weekend as almost 70 Church of the Brethren young adults from across the country gathered for the denomination’s annual Young Adult Conference.

Participants not only studied and discussed the theme of community, focused on a passage from Romans 12, but also lived it out.

The church’s Young Adult Steering Committee planned the conference, and many others shared their gifts to make the weekend happen. Sermons were offered by Matt McKimmy, pastor of Richmond (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; Marie Benner-Rhoades of On Earth Peace; and Carrie Fry-Miller, a student at Bethany Theological Seminary. Other participants led over a dozen workshops on topics from faithful ecology to crafting.

Saturday evening’s open microphone coffee house provided another opportunity for young adults to share their passions, and the offerings ranged from the beautiful (Broadway ballads and classical violin) to the bizarre (beat-boxing flute and recorder played by nostril).

Hiking, canoeing, card playing, cooking out, and roasting s’mores around the campfire took up generous portions of the weekend, but the group also dove into some serious conversation. Jordan Blevins and Bekah Houff, members of the denominational Visioning Committee, led an intentional conversation about a proposed new vision statement for the Church of the Brethren. "Here’s something we’ve put together about who we are as Brethren," Blevins said. "Now what did we leave out?" The question provoked impassioned responses from the young adults, who expressed both their love for the church as well as their frustration with it.

This shared sense of love and frustration, combined with genuine attempts to live in joyful community as "members of one another," seemed to characterize the entire weekend. Young adults are invited to join in the fun, fellowship, and community building at next year’s Young Adult Conference, held over Memorial Day weekend May 28-31, 2011, in a location to be determined.

A photo album from the Young Adult Conference is online at

-- Dana Cassell is Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) staff for vocation and community living.

Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline

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