Sometime ago at a staff meeting, we concluded that youTheology not only has a pilgrimage component, but is itself a pilgrimage. We always have to be attentive to the sacred places to which we are led, but then know when it is time to leave and move to other places that God has marked out. I use the word “sacred” because we believe we are led by God in each stage of our journey. Thus, each point is sacred.
Our core focus began with, and continues to be, our program with high school youth. Through this one-year program, we seek to empower high school youth to clarify and/or find their call, ask the questions that they have, reflect theologically and talk about their faith, serve through hands-on ministry in urban and rural settings, and learn the Methodist history and tradition. It is a diverse community of passionate people. We are about to shift from being primarily face-to-face community to a face-to-face and online community.
youTheology is Pan-Methodist. It comprises AME, AMEZ, CME, and UM churches. This was another stage of our journey. Two years into the program we moved from being UMC to being Pan-Methodist. As a result, we shifted the focus of our pilgrimage from a Wesley Heritage Pilgrimage in England to a Pan-Methodist Pilgrimage on the East Coast of the US where we are able to visit historic sites and reflect on the meaning of early American Methodism for us today. On this Pilgrimage we are very intentional about connecting our faith and our world. But there have been other stops along the way.
We now have an Annual Youth Workers’ Gathering for adults who are interested in and/or committed to working with youth. Broad in focus, this program is inter-denominational, more than Methodist. Moreover, we now have curriculum resources available for use in the local churches.
At this stage of our pilgrimage, youTheology is challenged to become self-sustaining. It has been an exciting journey so far. We have been aware of God’s help and support each step of the way. Indeed, Ebenezer, hither by God’s help we’ve come (1 Samuel 7:12). We know that God will continue to lead, guide, and provide so that we continue to fulfill our mission of developing faithful leaders for a diverse church and world. We thank you for being a vessel of prayer and support. Let us worship, serve, learn, and explore together.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor