By Rev. Barbara Javore
This year’s Youth Session theme was centered on discovering your light within and being a light in the world. The Spirit was definitely with us on Pentecost Sunday at Pheasant Run on Sunday, June 4! Youth Groups and Youth Leaders from the Aurora, Chicago Northwest, Chicago Southern, Rockford Districts gathered to discover their leadership styles and then used their strengths to learn about the Famine that is spreading beyond the Horn of Africa.
The worst human famine disaster since World War II impacts over thirteen countries with the threat that 80 million people are in perilous danger of dying from hunger in the next six months. Unless the world resolves that this cannot happen the effects of severe drought, war and fragile economies will be horrific. Half of the people in danger are children. In some regions, children under the age of three no longer exist! We learned that this can be prevented.
Dr. Sam Kormoi, a physician and founder of Pan African Rural Health and Social Services, shared with us the physical, psychological and emotional effects of Severe Acute Malnutrition [SAM]. We then explored why there is so little coverage in the press regarding this issue. We prepared “message doves” to be sent to the White House to prompt the President to maintain UN funding and to turn our country’s vast resources to help prevent this disaster from getting worse.
We shared a meal together with the performers from FCBC theatre and then engaged with the actors ranging in age from 8 to 23. They presented monologues about how to be the light by overcoming fear, doubts about self-image, and caring about the feelings of others. It was a powerful performance that moved many of us to tears.
We ended our time together with a service of light and we remembered our baptisms and our call to serve. Our next steps are to communicate, educate and inspire our congregations and communities to be the light in the darkness.
But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say that I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send to you and say whatever I command you. Jeremiah 1:7