This morning in worship the church I served celebrated a 25 year event called Worship Caravan. The basic premise is to bring youth together and plan a worships service, then take it on the road. Sounds simple, but in truth is incredibly intense and somewhat complicated.
When it started at West Heights, the youth gathered with the adults for 3 days, and wrote the dramas, the liturgies and a good deal of the music. Then they headed out to share what they had created with churches, with senior living facilities, and all over the continental United States and Canada.
There is not enough space in this blog to share all the stories, what is important is how many lives have been touched and changed by this mission and ministry of West Heights. Youth are not always trusted to create worship. Yet at West Heights, that is expected. They work to find a theme, then begin to build the service around it with music, with scripture, in this day and age with video and with drama. The Psalter talks about singing a new song generation to generation. In a sense that is exactly what Worship Caravan is all about.
They youth grow, learn and deeper their spirituality and their friendships. Those relationships years later still are strong. The lessons learned continue on in their lives as they go to college, go to work, begin families and end up all over the world.
This past weekend, there has been time for sharing, watching old videos and putting together a reunion choir consisting of Caravan alumni and current youth. Three directors put together five anthems in about five hours. In worship we heard from several of the former caravaners and directors how caravan changed their life and still today is part of their spirituality.
Community and connection forms us as individuals at the most basic level. It helps us identify who we are and who we long to be. Worship Caravan provides that community and connection for our youth and for who they become as adults. It is Christianity at its best: teaching and creating worship, forming bonds, connecting our young people into community.
I am grateful to be part of a congregation that values such an experience and have supported for twenty five years. My hope and prayer is that Worship Caravan continues on for many more. I am grateful for all the adults and youth that have committed themselves to Caravan and for their willingness to share their time and talent with others.
I am truly thankful to be a pastor at West Heights....and I am truly Graced to Serve.