Friday, July 21, 2006

A Community theme

I mentioned the theme for Senior High (actually for all our camps this summer) and that we'd had some success with the teaching. The theme was simply "Community". I try for simple concept themes that will allow the director and staff of each camp to interpret it as they see fit for their age group. (Last year was "Beloved"). I did some research and didn't find anything that I really liked, so I borrowed some ideas and built a course around them.

My approach was simple. We talked about what community means in the light of a life in faith. For the overall concept I took John 13:34-35 because I think that (the new commandment love another as I have loved you) is central to our understanding of how we create a community. It's not enough to love one another but we are to do it as Jesus loved us. Lots tougher. We talked about what constituted a community, the good, the bad, the communities they belonged to and the responsibilities that go along with it.

Each day had an individual scripture story that went with the day and some activity/discussion for them to hash out what we were talking about (each session lasted an hour) The central focus was on a pair of concepts:


Then on Friday we talked about "Taking it Home". Each of the pairs had to be defined first, then we looked at the stories from scripture and discussed them. I enjoyed all the sessions and the kids could repeat back to me the concepts we'd discussed the days before and put them in context so I was getting through too which was pretty cool. Friday's session kind of had me stumped. How to get it through, at the end of the week and without sounding preachy? I had really wanted to use some music from Isaac Everett (mentioned in a previous post) and as I listened to one cut (don't have the CD here so I can't tell you the name, it's cut 4 off his brand new disc) there was a line that just kept coming back to me "Lead me to Jerusalem to die" (that's close if not perfect). It wasn't until I was up in front of the class with the music playing (pretty hard rock sound to it, so it's pounding and the kids are sitting there with their heads bobbing) when it struck me. I went over to the chalkboard and wrote "Go to Jerusalem and DIE!" then walked away till the song ended. In the silence that followed I talked about the community of believers that went before us, and how they would go on pilgrimage. I spoke of our own lifelong pilgrimage to the Holy City and how as people of faith we are called there to die to our selves. All of the concepts we discussed were about setting aside our selves to love one another. It is in doing that, just as Jesus did, that we truly fulfill the new commandment and create a faith based and faith filled community. I'd only used up about 20 minutes of the hour but it felt like time to wrap it up. So I sent them on their way to their Jerusalems.

You never know about how well the seeds been planted with young people. They seemed interested and open and involved. I'm not sure I get to ask for any more than that. The adults seemed to really like it. One suggested I needed to do that as a workshop for adults throughout the diocese and the bishop suggested that me teaching needed to be a regular part of conference. (Blush)

By the end of the week we'd had a beach party (with rubber duckies for everyone! Those were a major hit), a dance, a talent show, game night, workshops on Anglican Prayer beads, General Convention (with one of our former youth who had been part of the Official Youth Presence in Columbus)and done a Morning worship that drew from traditions all around the world (mostly Anglican plus Iona) and prayed for folks from the diocese and the world wide Communion. Some of the kids liked the morning prayer enough that they took me up on taking a copy home with them. Maybe they'll even use it!

It's tiring me out just thinking back on the week. It's a conference I feel really good about. It wasn't perfect (next year! lol)but it went very well.

Onward to the next task...


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