All youth and youth ministry leaders should plan now to attend our exciting 2021 Eastern PA Conference Virtual Youth Rally, which will span two sessions during youth-friendly hours: on Friday, Jan 8, from 8 to 10 PM, and continuing on Saturday, Jan. 9, from 3 to 5 PM. As we cross the 2020 finish line and take on new challenges in 2021, the rally’s timely theme says it all: “Persevere!”
To persevere is to continue to do or try to achieve something despite difficulty or discouragement, much like the biblical heroes Joseph and Esther and like many who have persevered throughout the challenging year 2020.
2020 has brought a pandemic, political unrest and racial injustice. Our lives are now lived mostly online, with little we can do about the social distance and isolation. Yet, the way of the Christian is to persevere! So, “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Join the Eastern PA Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM), led by the Rev. David Piltz, Conference Coordinator of Youth Ministries, as they explore together how to persevere. Leading and inspiring us will be several gifted, young performers: Tasha Layton, Keith Everette Smith and Egypt Speaks.
South Carolina-native Tasha Layton appeared on Season 9 of American Idol and spent four years as a back-up vocalist for pop superstar Katy Perry. Her 2019 critically acclaimed Love Running Wild (BEC Recordings debut EP), was followed by Into the Sea (It’s Gonna Be Ok), a top 10 single and album for 2020.
Layton’s voice has also been heard in productions for Disneyland and Cirque du Soleil, as well Nickelodeon television. She has served as an instructor at the National Praise and Worship Institute at Nashville’s Trevecca Nazarene University.
Keith Everette Smith, Layton husband, is a Grammy and Gospel Music Association Dove Award-winning producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist. He plays in Christian hip hop recording artist TobyMac’s Diverse City Band. Smith and Layton reside in Nashville with their two children.
Egypt Speaks, a popular, award-winning, Christian spoken-word author and performer from Cleveland, Ohio, has toured the country as a self-described “Wanderer” sharing her stories through the art of poetry. She joined Piltz and the CCYM twice for online events on Zoom this past summer—a retreat for youth leaders’ in July to explore how to facilitate racial diversity discussions among youth and adults and a two-part youth retreat in August.
Since the Peninsula-Delaware Conference will not sponsor its annual Youth Rally in 2021, the CCYM invites all youth—from Eastern PA and other conferences—to attend its free, online winter rally on Zoom in January.
“We will enjoy insightful conversation, great music, fun games, heartfelt stories, and interesting questions and answers,” said Piltz, “and we’ll share Scriptures, prayer and much more.”