Youth Commissioned to Carry Living Water into the World
By Tiffany Vail
Associate Conference Minister for Communications
HARTFORD - Youth and young adults from across the Conference were commissioned to accept God’s living water and carry it into the world at a special Earth Day Youth Revival on Sunday at Faith Congregational Church.
“Are you ready? Can you do it? Will you do it? Will you accept the living water today and share it with the world in all the ways you feel called to?” asked The Rev. Edwin Pérez, Jr. “There is a mandate with your name on it. What others have begun, we will complete. This is our time. Young people, this is our season. We will be brave, we will be bold, we will be productive, we will give freely for freely we have received the gift of hope for all we do.”
“Deal or no deal?”
With that, Pérez invited the youth forward and they filled the front of the church, each to receive a laying on of hands and blessing.
Leading up to that moment, Pérez talked about how people have not only poisoned the earth through pollution, but they have also poisoned one another with injustice.
“We have not only been polluting our physical environment, we’ve been polluting each other, polluting the social environment,” he said. “The things that the earth is reacting to is not only pollution through the excessive use of plastics, of oil spills, of carbon emissions – but also the pollution that depresses the soul.”
“We will never forget what is happening to the earth is also reflected in what is happening to people. Houston, we have a problem,” he said.
Pérez also assured the youth that even when they feel helpless, or hopeless, or thirsty, that things will get better.
“You do have lots to offer. You have talents, even if you don’t know what hey are yet,” he said. “God will provide you with the will to make change, to renew your sacred space, to give life to what may seem dead, not because you have it all together, but because through that mess, through the stress, through your brokenness, you can be a vessel to the world. For God is making you over.”
This was the 8th Annual CTUCC Youth Revival, a multi-cultural, mutli-racial worship experience that is a signature event of the Conference’s racial justice ministry. It included music from the Simsbury Youth Ensemble, the Liberty Christian Center International Youth Praise Team and the Dixwell Teen Ensemble.
Pérez, the preacher, is a Member in Discernment, and he leads the charismatic worship service and facilitates Adult Faith Formation at United Church on the Green in New Haven.
The revival also included testimonials from youth who have participated in Conference youth ministry initiatives, including the Silver Lake Conference Center and the Thinking About Working for God program.
Pam Arifian, Director of the Northeast Regional Environmental Justice Center at Silver Lake, asked the youth to take part in the CTUCC Green Challenge: To invest at least an hour picking up trash and recyclables from the environment over the two weeks following the service. They have been asked to post pictures and videos of their work using the hashtag #ctgreenchallenge.
The youth heard from Ron Pitz, Executive Director of the Knox Park Foundation, about that organization’s work to plant 1,000 trees a year in Hartford and sponsor over 20 community gardens. Half of the day's offering went to the Knox Park Foundation; the other half went to youth ministry at the host church, Faith Congregational in Hartford.