For families that say grace before mealtime, the prayer “God is great, God is good, and we thank him for our food, by his hands, we all are fed, give us Lord, our daily bread” often becomes a staple, revisited each day. This weekend, that prayer became the central focus for middle schoolers and their adult advisors, shedding new light on what for many is a commonly memorized prayer.
Lost and Found, the Virginia Synod youth event for 7th and 8th graders was held November 18-20 at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Convention Center in Lynchburg. This year’s 260 youth and adult participants got to witness and live out the theme “God is Great, God is Good” based on Psalm 103:1-8.
This year’s planning group made up by Trent Campbell (Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg), Bryce Arp (Resurrection, Fredericksburg), Katie Bridges(Epiphany, Richmond), Sydney Duffy (Christ, Fredericksburg), and Ellie Sabalewski (Christ the King, Richmond). worked with Pastor Dave Delaney to plan nearly every element of the weekend. From scripture passage to t-shirt designs, the group got a say in the whole event making it uniquely suited to the middle schoolers in attendance.
During the weekend, the crowd enjoyed the planning group’s skits, which was set around a group of middle schoolers who together formed Faith Club. Each skit had the club gather during their lunch time to read their latest scripture passage, Psalm 103, and to discuss problems they were having in school and with friends. These skits centered on supporting themes both silly and serious, from finding the strength to complete the mile, or apologizing to friends over argument caused by misunderstanding.
Following each skit, Pastor Leslie Scanlon, the chaplain for the event, stood in front of the crowd and offered ways that the stories told could relate to the lives of the middle schoolers, “God strengthens your faith, and helps you be alert to others and understand the feelings and needs of others,” she proclaimed at the conclusion of one of the skits performed over the weekend.
Bryan “Hep” Hepner and Tori Smith acted as the planning group advisers and helped the group prepare to get up on stage. In addition to working with the planning group, Tori and Hep planned and performed their own series of comedic skits for the middle schoolers. The pair took on the role of birdwatchers in search of the elusive “Eagle Eyrie”, sending everyone in attendance into stitches over their silly antics.
Following large group presentations, the participants at Lost and Found got the chance to break off into small groups, arraigned by age group. In these small groups, participants were able to reflect on the weekend’s theme and relate it back to their own faith life through conversation, games, and crafts- some of which were showcased during the Saturday worship service as “On Eagle’s Wings” was sung.
|While speaking to the youth, Bishop Mauney lifted up the ongoing campaign in the Virginia Synod, Forwarding Faith. He encouraged participants to get involved with their churches in the coming year to fundraise for Forwarding Faith which will support faith formation programs like Lost and Found.
An offering was taken up on Saturday night’s worship service that will go towards educational scholarships in Papua New Guinea.Over $550 was collected.
Lost and Found 2016 was filled with laughter, fun, worship, and conversations that encouraged participants to growth their faith in God. As Pastor Leslie proclaimed throughout each large group gathering, “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good”