The youth choir performs at closing worship of NYE 2000, held July 6-9 in Ames, Iowa. W. Evan Golder photo
The feeling of being so close to the people I came with is tremendous. I don't think it'll stay like this once we return to Vermillion, S.D. So much has happened since Thursday. We've talked through lunch and into the wee hours of the morning about almost any topic one could think of.
I don't want to lose that.
Another thing that will be difficult to give up is the people. I've met people from so many places. I can talk to almost anybody here. There have been times when I'd just sit down and talk to people I didn't know. That was one of the greatest parts of NYE.
NYE also had its bad side: stuffy stairwells; listening to the people in the air-conditioned buildings complain that they were cold; dragging a suitcase up two really long flights of stairs; trying to get across campus for a workshop in under 10 minutes; and late-night vespers, which were just too late.
It's not that I didn't enjoy myself; I did. Vespers were awesome (just late). My pastor, the Rev. Steve Miller, has been doing Taize services for the South Dakota Conference. The services revolve around prayer. It's a great feeling to have so many groups praying around you on the way back to your dorm.
I'm heading back to South Dakota tomorrow. It will be tough to go back to doing next-to-nothing on some days after all of this. I won't be surrounded by the same type of people either. Here, I'm surrounded by caring Christians. Out there, who knows?
But for now, I'm enjoying being part of one group: Christians united by love.
Catherine Odson, of Vermillion (S.D.) UCC, wrote this at the end of NYE.