After much hard work and planning, today’s Youth Sabbath at Trinity Episcopal Church was PHENOMENAL! We are so blessed to have a church like Trinity filled with such youth. The readings were well done, the acolytes performed their tasks smoothly, the prayers were said with sensitivity, the Eucharistic Ministers administered with care and reverence, and the sermon team was fantastic with their message and their unique tag team delivery. All of this and more was accomplished by our youth. I want to take some time here to acknowledge especially the gifts of the Trinity Youth Praise Band : Travis Anderson, sister Lizzie Anderson, new recruit Josh Hansknecht, and my two boys, Adam and Aaron, along with our new sound system engineer, Eric Travis.
Each time we do a Youth Sabbath, we stretch our wings a little bit more. Not too long ago, this was an annual event. The feedback was so positive that we began doing this every six months. The church wanted to give the youth a little more more latitude in planning and organizing it, and the youth and their youth group leaders responded to the challenge with interesting ideas about the service language, the Creed and, of course, the service music. Six months ago, Adam was the first youth to organize the music under adult supervision, collaborating with the Trinity Praise Band. This year, Travis Anderson volunteered for the task, developing a unique vision and exercising additional latitude. They recruited a new musician, Josh, hiding in the midst of the existing Trinity youth, and got him to play and sing and even lead a portion of the worship.
Travis and his peers worked very hard on the music, writing new lyrics for secular music, including the Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” and even Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive.” I overheard them discussing the spiritual needs of the congregation, particularly for communion, and they put a special effort into the recessional, intending to send the congregation out into the world highly charged and inspired. For the Creed, the Confirm Not Conform class wrote not only new words expressing their faith, but composed new music to sing it by. They rehearsed and revised and rehearsed some more. They even responded to a last second(literally) need for additional, unplanned music right smack in the middle of the service.
The results were simply amazing. Even after listening to the rehearsals, the revisions, and the inevitable debates that occur during the creative process, words to describe the outcome that was service today escape me. I have often said that kids are sponges, and will absorb everything you feed them, therefore, feed them, feed them, and feed them some more. What I was reminded of yet again today was that they can in their turn feed others. A LOT of others.
I am so proud of Travis, Lizzie, Josh, Adam and Aaron. They are all immensely gifted, and as youth, invaluably so, probably more than they realize. Furthermore, I think their willingness to share their gifts, especially something as intimate as their Creed, takes, on the one hand, courage, and on the other, not just confidence, but conviction. I hope everyone present was as inspired and charged as I was. We are truly blessed to have youth like this, and a church like this in which they can express themselves. I do truly hope they will continue their ministry, here and elsewhere.