By Walt Wiltschek
More than 80 youth and advisors met at Camp Mack in Milford, Ind., on Nov. 15-16 for the Powerhouse regional youth conference sponsored by Manchester University. All six Midwest districts of the Church of the Brethren were represented, covering Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, served as keynote speaker for three worship services.
The weekend focused on the theme “Almost Christian: Seeking an Authentic Faith.” The title and focus drew on the book “Almost Christian” by Kenda Creasy Dean, which explores topics from the National Study of Youth and Religion. Shively’s messages centered on identifying and telling one’s story of faith, gaining a sense of gifts and vocation, and living in a sense of hope–and the importance of community in all of those. The band Mutual Kumquat brought additional energy, providing musical leadership through the weekend.
Participants also selected from among 10 workshops, with options such as a trip to the Manchester University campus, a service project, a study of Creasy Dean’s book, and working with clay or prayer journals. Recreation time, meals, an optional film, and games and fellowship filled the rest of the schedule. Representatives from Brethren Volunteer Service, the denomination’s Youth/Young Adult Ministry, and Bethany Theological Seminary were also on hand to share about their programs.
This was the fifth year since the Midwest regional youth conference was “rebooted” in this new format, planned by Manchester’s Campus Ministry and Church Relations office. The next Powerhouse gathering will tentatively be held in Nov. 2015. For more information, visit www.manchester.edu/powerhouse .
— Walt Wiltschek of the Manchester University Campus Ministry/Religious Life provided this report.