Thirty-two Eastern PA Conference churches will send over 500 youth, from 6th to 12th grade, and adults to the 2016 Peninsula-Delaware Conference Youth Rally this weekend, Jan. 8-10, at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Md. Nearly 5,000 attendees in total are expected, mostly from the host conference.
With the theme ” WORD,” drawn from John 1:1, the rally will kick off Friday night, 8 PM, with worship and oratory by the inspirational, ever-popular Reggie Dabbs and West Coast poet, rapper, political activist and emcee Propaganda. Fellowship Creative, a collection of innovative Christian artists related to the Fellowship Church in Texas, will set the atmosphere with soul-stirring music. A special concert will follow at 9 PM, featuring Christian alternative heavy-metal rock band Disciple from Tennessee.
Saturday’s schedule will include an encore of Friday’s opening acts, plus another special concert at 6:30 PM featuring contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Moriah Peters of California. Reggie Dabbs, Propaganda and Fellowship Creative will close out the rally Sunday morning, when Bishop Peggy Johnson will also greet and celebrate Holy Communion with the youth and adult leaders.
Saturday morning’s schedule also includes two “breakout sessions” with the usual bevy of workshops and group activities, including an encore of Spittin’ Da Word,” a youth preaching competition for high schoolers with a passion for sharing God’s Word. Pre-registered contenders will spout–or rather, “spit”– five-minute biblically based orations. The winner will get to share their Word again on stage during the rally and receive a $500 grant for their youth ministry.
Some participants will also compete during free time Saturday afternoon in a “Battle of the Youth Groups,” labeled a “team-building experience,” with interactive games for fun and fellowship. A music deejay will spice up the competition and encourage the youth to make some noise. The Rev. Billy Frick, pastor of Clarks Grove UMC, Paxinos, PA, will co-lead the tournament with the Rev. David Burke, a Maryland pastor and popular youth ministries leader.
Eastern PA Conference attendees will gather for their own hour-long session Saturday morning at 10:30 to enjoy fellowship and a session on “Word Play,” designed by David Piltz, Conference Coordinator of Young People’s Ministries. They will see and hear reflections on the life-changing power of God’s Word, including personal testimony from a student in Drexel University’s Open Door Campus Ministry. And they will explore the impact of words–good, bad, ugly and beautiful–on their inward and outward perspectives.
Returning Eastern PA attendees are asked to wear the special identifying t-shirts they received at last year’s rally. And there will be more souvenirs given away this year. We’re also looking and hoping for several youth to write brief reflections, 200-500 words, about their observations and experiences at the rally for possible publication in NEWSpirit newspaper again.
By John W. Coleman
Eastern PA Conference Communications Director