Belize Service Trip
5 volunteers went to Belize City and worked with Hand in Hand Ministries. While there, the group built a house and helped with the construction of a community center for families affected by AIDS.
National Youth Event
Several of our youth attended the UCC's National Youth Event (NYE) held in Orlando, FL. They traveled with 48 other people from the Northern California Nevada Conference and joined roughly 3,500 youth and leaders from around the world. They participated in some incredible workshops on issues such as mass incarceration of people of color, the Israel/Pakistan conflicts, and many other pertinent issues in today's world. Every day in worship, they also witnessed powerful speakers, such as Michelle Higgins (an African American preacher deeply involved with the Black Lives Matter movement) and Trisha Prabhu (a 15-year old from Illinois who developed an app to prevent cyber bullying). On the plane ride home, our youth were singing songs they'd sung during worship (https://youtu.be/5qq1osFgSdQ) and talked without end about the incredible experiences they had. Here are some of the things they said:
- "I gained new perspectives and am able to say I'm definitely more accepting of other people and their beliefs now"
- "This event totally made me take another look at my life through a different lens."
- "It was truly inspirational and life-changing. I loved getting to know other teens from across the world and participate in worship, singing, and prayer."
- "Worshiping with 3,000+ kids your age is really something special"
- "I can't wait to take what I learned from the event and apply it to my life!"
- "I am inspired to make a difference and make some true change in this world."
- "I made friendships that will last a lifetime and I will remember this experience forever."
Thank you to all of you who supported us and made this trip possible. We raised over the amount we needed to and were able to participate in an offering taken at one of our worship services that will go to *The Center*, an Orlando GLBT non-profit that is involved in raising money for the victims and families of the Pulse Nightclub shootings. The youth from our church decided to take $100 given to them as spending money and donate it to this offering instead.
Click on the image above to see some photos from out trip! In some of the pictures, you can see what our worship space was like with over 3,000 people, as well as an image of female ministers offering the sacrament of communion, and an image of several of the youth from our conference (including our very own Jacob Thomas) presenting prayer flags we created to be given to the Florida conference and put up in their offices as well as at Pulse Nightclub.