Rendez-vous 2011 kicked off yesterday with our masters of ceremonies in a tuxedo and a fancy dress, rolling out the red carpet, asking us to present ourselves at this spectacular event. As over 550 United Church youth, young adults and leaders gathered in Koerner Hall near the University of Toronto, there was a sense of energy and anticipation in every face.
During the opening worship, I couldn’t take my eyes off the candle flame, reminding me that the presence of God always surrounds us. I felt blessed to be present when rEvolve, a Canadian band that ties faith and justice together, performed with great jubilation. Later that evening, the Abbey North Drummers filled the room with rhythm as we beat our hearts out. The atmosphere was vibrant, and you couldn’t help but move with the drums.
Rendez-vous calls us to live out our faith, and a huge part of that is being in community with each other. I quickly discovered that travelling from one building to another would take two or even three times longer than usual because I kept meeting friends along my journey. Friends I haven’t seen in a while. Friends who share a love of faith. All over campus, I heard squeals of excitement as people reunited. During home group time, folks created circles across the lawns. A new community of new friends.
United Church Moderator Mardi Tindal led a discussion about the chance to create loaves and fishes, to live in abundance, to care for our ministries and Creation. She invited us to sit with Christ and with others to discern and live out faith. Educator Rodger Nishioka followed with a dynamic reflection on how the treatment of youth has changed over the past 40 years. He reminded us that we are not the future of our church but rather “the church of Jesus Christ today.”
I ended this day with much joy and hope in my heart, anticipating the blessings tomorrow will bring.
Miriam Spies will be blogging daily about Rendez-vous 2011 from now until Aug. 15.
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