What's close to the hearts of American teenagers? T-shirts, that's what, literally and figuratively. They connect teens to an event, but sometimes even more, as Matthew Williams found out.
In 1992, Williams attended the UCC National Youth Event and came home with the ubiquitous souvenir T-shirt. Soon afterward, he joined the Marines. On his first leave, he shed his khakis for—what else—the Youth Event T-shirt. Standing on the parade ground, waiting for the leave granted order, he looked around and spotted two recruits wearing the same shirt. The three Marines quickly bonded together and formed a Bible study group that helped sustain them through boot camp.
After basic training, young Williams and one of his UCC buddies shipped out to a Marine base in California where, yes, they spotted yet another leatherneck sporting the Youth Event souvenir. The three of them went to church together. For these soldiers, their common T-shirt was more than just a souvenir. It identified them with the UCC, created a bond of friendship and a small circle of followers of the Gospel.
Our thanks to Connection, Fall 1999, a publication of the UCC Stewardship Council; online www.ucc.org/connect.