Denver youth (left) chalk loving messages on plaza steps where picketers stand; volunteers paint in Invanhoe neighborhood; youth celebrate in exhibit hall and youth assembly area. First photo W. Evan Golder, remaining photos ©2001 The Disciple/CBP/Jim Barnett.
Two denominations. Five days. More than 1800 youth. And one really good time.
That is what many of the youth and young people who participated in the General Synod/Assembly reported. Singing and dancing, working and worshiping, protesting and playing proved a lot of fun for those who had come to Kansas City.
"The youth stuff was cool," said Breon Lee of Franklin, Va.
Stacey Kullgern of Jaffrey, N.H., echoed that sentiment. "People are happy with what's been going on," she said.
Their time at the Synod/Assembly also created new relationships across denominational lines.
"It is neat that people open up toward each other," said Cate Culbertson of Georgetown, Ky. Stephanie Koenig of St. Louis shared that feeling. "I liked being together and getting to know one another," she said.
Those new relationships were helped by the Synod/Assembly's many events. Worship, for example.
"The powerful worship services connected the denominations," said Ryan Motler of Lenexa, Kan. "Things were done in pairs so everyone was represented."
Matt Whitt of Bentonville, Ark., particularly liked the opening service. "It was cool," he said. "It was just this marathon worship."
For others, the opportunity to work along with the Front Porch Alliance, the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Association and Move Up proved most exciting.
"The mission projects have helped the youth get to know each other because we're working together," said Emily Cox.
Katy Mueller of St. Louis agreed. "I liked the mission trips and helping fix up run-down houses," she said. Of course, music was a large part of the week's experience.
"Sweet Honey In The Rock was great," said Billy Reddick of Louisvlle, Ky., and the jazz band was "awesome."
Others enjoyed not just listening to the music but making it.
"Singing in the youth choir was fun," according to Nancy Baldwin of Larned, Kan.
The music heard coming from the youth hall most often was that of Andra Moran and Josh Elson, members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). They met at the 1999 General Assembly in St. Louis and have been playing together ever since.
Davis, 15, is a member of Congregational UCC in Greensboro, N.C.