7th Day, the Virginia Synod youth event for 5th and 6th-grades was held this past weekend, March 7-8 at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Convention Center in Lynchburg. Over 150 youth and adults made up Shepard Groups that together joined in the fun and faith-filled weekend learning new songs, making crafts, listening to stories, and playing plenty of exciting games.
The focus for the weekend was set by this year’s planning group youth and adults- Jeffery Berry, Hannah Bishop, Kat Kolodinsky, Patrick Reiter, and Rachel Romano, event chaplains Pastor Heidi Moore and Pastor Suzanne Stierwalt, and planning group advisor Celeste Wilson. The planning group set the theme for the weekend, “Ordinary to Extraordinary” based on the Miracle of Water to Wine in John 2:1-11.
The planning group youth choose to reframe the parable as a group of musicians who are planning to perform at the wedding in the John 2 parable. The musicians realize that they need a director or else their performance won’t go well. With the new direction, they follow instructions and learn to believe in what God can do in their lives and in the world. In addition to the planning group skit activity modules for crafts, interactive story, music, and movement each focused on three major parts of the parable: needing, obeying, and believing. This allowed for the parable to be told and retold, again and again, to best allow for understanding and connection in the lives of the 5th and 6th-grade participants.
For the interactive story module, led by Valerie Dombrowski, Sarah Dombrowski, Heather Browning, the Shepherd groups saw the parable come to life. There they saw reenactments of the parable and learned what parables were and how Jesus used them as a teaching tool. The group also got to participate in fun group activities like solving puzzles together, star gazing, and more.
In the crafts module, led by Greg McCorkindale and Diane Bayer, Shepherd Groups creatively interpreted the Wedding in Cana, such as sculpting and painting their own stone jar out of clay. They also decorated their own pennants with words and illustrations that shared the parable they heard over the weekend.
In the movement module, led by Hillary Long and Jillian Stierwalt had Shepherd Groups play lots of silly games like turning water into wine in a balancing relay race. They also got to create their own extraordinary wedding gifts with ordinary materials. At the end of the weekend, each group received a verse and together planned a presentation of human sculptures. These verses were read while the sculptures were performed during the Sunday afternoon worship.
In music, led by Pastor Dave Delaney and Tim Wilson the Shepherd Groups were introduced to new songs to sing and their corresponding movements. The songs learned here at 7th Day often become the returning favorites, as many are sung at other Virginia Synod youth events such as Lost and Found and Winter Celebration!
7th Day provided a weekend filled with fun, laughter, and worship as the 5th and 6th-graders present learned about the first of Jesus’ miracles, and how God provides all things for us, turning the ordinary into extraordinary!