Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Monday, July 17, 2017

T.Y.C.

This week at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church we are holding our Vacation Bible School program. We are having a lot of crazy fun! A preparatory sermon as we headed into the week, all about a lady called Abigail, can be found here.

Next week I'm leaving town. A number of our youth and myself are traveling to Schellsburg, PA, to participate in the Trinity Youth Conference. The mission of “T.Y.C.” as it is usually known, is to provide a Christian conference experience for senior high youth and college-age young adults.

The conference seeks to provide leadership training, as well as to help the participants grow in faith and in service to Jesus Christ by focusing on spiritual and leadership development, discipleship, and evangelism. The mission of T.Y.C. is accomplished through daily worship, small group activities, and numerous workshops with a range of topics that are centered on a different theme each year. This years theme is “Do Not Be Afraid!”

A typical day at T.Y.C. begins with morning watch, a devotional time for thought and prayer before breakfast. After breakfast some warm up songs are usually shared before folk head off to participate in two morning workshops. I have a particular responsibility in leading one of the workshops. An important role will also be played by one of our own youth, who is a member of the planning team for the conference.

Much of the afternoon is spent in small groups known as 'Heads Together' (or just H.T.) where people get a chance to know each other and discuss how the week is going. The groups are led by youth from the planning team. Whilst the groups follow a pre-prepared syllabus there is also a lot of flexibility so each H.T. takes on a life of it's own! Afternoon free time offers a chance to participate in games, hang out or take a nap.

Each evening an all-camp activity takes place. An all-over-camp game, a song night, and Talent show feature as part of the week. Central to the evenings is a time of worship, the preacher this year being K.J. Bee, a former workshop leader and all round awesome lady from a Native American background. Much singing, under the leadership of Erin Adams, contemporary worship leader at Chambersburg Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania, will also be an important part of worship.

Wednesday afternoon we'll all head out to Shawnee Lake where swimming and volley ball are among the attractions to enjoy. A picnic is followed by an outdoor worship service among some beautiful scenery. (see the picture at the top of this post!)

After attending for a number of years one of the participants wrote the following. “T.Y.C. is a place where God can be felt, and where for the first time in my life I had the justified feeling that He is "real." This feeling has carried on with me for seven years, getting me through some tough times that I never could have made it through alone. I give full credit to T.Y.C. for who I am today and where I am today, because it opened up my heart, strengthened my relationship with God, and showed me how to allow myself to feel ALL of His love.

It is truly a privilege to be involved in a conference that is profoundly impacting the lives of young people today. I'm certainly hoping that this years conference will be as equally inspiring and encouraging as it has on previous occasions!

For some music... a recording from T.Y.C worship from a few years back. “Hallelujah!”

The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.

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