Bloomfield, CT – A packed house of youth and adults at the 9th Annual Youth Revival were urged to use whatever gifts they have to spread the good news of God's love.
"It doesn’t take a Seminary degree, you don’t need the affirmation of your friends, you don’t need to be a certain age—you have a story to tell the world and God has called you to go forth and tell it," said Rev. Trayce Potter, UCC Minister for Youth and Young Adult Engagement .
"Use whatever you have. If you are a dancer, dance it out; if you are a singer, sing from the mountaintops; if you are an artist, draw the next Starry Night. Every gift you have can be used to reach God’s people and proclaim goodness and love that is available to all," Potter said.
Potter was the featured preacher at the Revival, held at the Bloomfield Congregational Church on Sunday, May 5. Pastor The Rev. Shawn Fisher, pastor of the host church, extended a warm welcome to the young crowd and told them, “there is a gift here for you today.”
Rev. Kent Siladi, CT Conference minister reminded the congregation that the revival is a signature program of the Racial Justice Ministry program. “This multi-cultural, multi-racial worship is a time to reconnect with God and a time to re-dedicate ourselves to the work of racial justice.”
The afternoon was filled with music and energy. The diverse congregation included children, youth, parents, Pastors, and youth leaders from dozens of Connecticut congregations, and a few UCC siblings from Massachusetts.
Mr. Isaac Monts, Associate for Leadership and Justice, who also doubles as a professional musician, directed the house band. Worship Leader The Rev. Edwin Pérez Jr. of United Church on the Green in New Haven had the congregation on its feet to sing and give thanks. Kalligraphy Dance Team member Reese Hart shared a powerful expression of praise through dance and the Voices of Inspiration
, a forty member gospel choir from Bloomfield High School filled the sanctuary with heavenly tones.
Several other youth from the CTUCC Thinking about Working For God program
shared in leadership for the event. Ramon Schreier of South Glastonbury recited an original poem, Black Lives Matter.
Lucy Morisse-Corsetti of Kensington and a 2019 Thinking About Working for God
Apprentice shared a reflection on her learnings from recent racial justice trainings: “Being the person to go ‘Hey, that’s not okay’ to someone saying something super racist isn’t always comfortable, but I am very aware that not
doing so creates a much worse situation. Helping my neighbor should always come first,” she said.
Skylar Haines of Gilead Congregational spoke of God’s presence as she and her classmates held a rally in responding to the school shootings in Parkland, FL. “God was speaking then and God is speaking now. God says stand up!” Read her testimony here
In her sermon, Potter built on the theme of sacred call, referencing the prophet Jeremiah. Speaking directly to youth she said, “You have a story to tell. You have a job to do right now. It doesn’t begin when you graduate or enter the real world. You have been chosen for this time and this place to do the will of God.”
The service culminated with a moving ritual of anointing for all ages. This blessing followed Rev. Potter’s exhortation that everyone can contribute to building up God’s realm served as a sacred symbol of God’s promise to be present with us.
See a photo album here