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Youth share God's love at Winter Connection

By: Camille Zachrison and Anna Mutzenberger, interns, Dakotas UMC

Winter Connection Fargo group

Winter Connection participants at Fargo gather for a group photo before skating. Photos from Winter Connection participants.

God's love was spread across the Dakotas during the last weekend in January as many youth and adults shared in community with one another. They laughed, served their respective communities, and joined in worship. Youth gathered in Fargo, Rapid City, and Mitchell for Winter Connection, an annual event hosted by the Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM). View all the photos from the event

This year, the theme was "Be Bold. Be Fearless," focusing on scripture Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NIV) 

Worship Friday night centered on perseverance, being bold and unafraid, even though it may seem scary. Rev. Anthony Purcell, DWU campus pastor, gave the message in Mitchell, South Dakota. At the same time, Rev. John Britt, Grace UMC in Piedmont, South Dakota, led worship in Rapid City, and Rev. Nicole Anderson, Lake Poinsett Camp director, shared the message in Fargo, North Dakota, with CCYM members helping at each location. Worship at each site was a mixture of music, prayer, and fun. 

Following worship, participants at the three sites reflected on what they had heard in Bible Study time and then played games to end the night. Lavencia, a youth from Piedmont, shared that worship and sharing with one another in small group time was fun and joy-filled. 

Winter Connection participants sprang into action on Saturday, serving their communities and helping those in need. 

Youth in Mitchell with blankets

Participants at the Mitchell site made tie blankets for "Sleep in Heavenly Peace."

Alayna Nelson, the vice chair of CCYM, explains that the group in Mitchell created tie blankets for "Sleep in Heavenly Peace" as their service project. She adds that people should come and experience Winter Connection. “It's a great way to get to know your community, meet new people, worship God, and grow in your faith,” she said. 

Mitchell had about 30 youth and adults who worshipped, learned about being bold, and grew in the community.

The group in Rapid City was smaller in number, but though they were small, they were certainly mighty! Rev. John Britt, an adult on CCYM, describes that participants served their community in several ways. They made scarves and hats and served a meal to the people in Rapid City. Chloe, a youth from Canyon Lake, shared that helping the community was a weekend highlight for her.

Serving a meal in Rapid City

Winter Connection participants at Rapid City served a meal outside.

Those attending Winter Connection at Fargo also participated in many service projects, including construction cleanup, house fire cleanup, and Sheyenne Crossing. Emily Throlson from Legacy in Bismarck shared, “It was fun! Connections, people; all the things.”

No doubt the youth were busy spreading the love of God and helping those in need!

If you want to become a leader in CCYM, whether a youth or an adult, you can apply now. Access the details and application.

If you want to attend a youth event, then you're in luck. Leadership Training Camp (LTC) is the next event, happening July 21-26, 2024, at Lake Poinsett Camp.  Learn more and register

UMC

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