Youth minister Rick Gunn and his band were on stage when we gathered at Toronto’s Koerner Hall on Sunday, the final morning of Rendez-vous 2011. After three inspiring days, the national gathering of United Church young people was wrapping up. One person started to sing Bohemian Rhapsody, and in less than a minute, the stage filled with youth and leaders, dancing and playing. The sense of community and joy in the room made me smile from ear to ear.
Worship leader Rodger Nishioka opened his reflection with Jeremiah, a boy-prophet called by the Creator: “Before you were born I knew you. You will speak the words I give you.” Nishioka reflected on how God calls every young person to be prophets and visionaries.
And so, the microphone was passed to the prophets in our midst. Daniel spoke of finding his voice at the gathering, saying, “Rendez-vous has ripped me out of my shell and I’m never going back.” Jonathon had a revelation about the church this weekend. “Rendez-vous has said to me, ‘You belong here!’” he shared. Their words made me dream of youth transforming the church.
Worship moved into communion. Nishioka described how we are at home when we are at table with Christ. As youth prepared to journey away from Rendez-vous 2011, they were called to the table of God’s grace, a home for all. In that moment, I felt my call to ministry being affirmed, a true home for me.
Over 500 of us left the building in silence, reflecting on the weekend’s events. As we gathered outside, we raised our voices with hymns of praise and gratitude. Each of us lit a small candle, the light of Christ that we will take home with us. Before everyone dispersed, a group of youth I’d connected with gathered around me for a picture. Saying goodbye, I received overlapping hugs from every direction, words of love and blessing. I have been honoured to be present this weekend, to be touched by the faith and energy of passionate youth. It was an unforgettable ending to a spectacular weekend. Or perhaps it was only the beginning.
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