ORLANDO (08/02/2016) -- The UCC National Youth Event was held in Orlando, FL last week and over 80 participants from the CT Conference were in attendance. The event drew 3000 youth from UCC and Disciples of Christ congregations as well as international visitors.
The Silver Lake NYE Conference included youth and leaders from fifteen congregations. In addition, there were youth groups from Naugatuck, Prospect, Rocky Hill, Vernon and West Hartford. Several adults with CTUCC connections attended as workshop presenters.
This experience was an opportunity for youth to grow in faith, leadership, service, and justice. Youth were challenged to believe in themselves, to think how their uniqueness can be a gift to the world, and to be bold. They gathered for worship and were inspired by entrepreneurial teen speakers. They attended workshops and learned about social justice issues ranging from climate change and interfaith dialogue, to solitary confinement and Syrian refugees. They set out for service at the Orlando Community Food and Outreach Center. And, they shared in joyful recreation at the pool and the parks.
"Our youth are compassionate and caring. They are committed to justice and leave this event inspired to learn more about issues, to advocate for human rights, and to serve. This experience of the wider church was transformative. We are grateful to the twelve CTUCC Associations that provided scholarship support for these young leaders," said Debby Kirk, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
Debby Kirk is the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the CT Conference, UCC. Isaac Monts is the Program Associate for Racial Justice Ministry for the CT Conference, UCC.