Reflections on ‘This Is Love’ 

ThisIsLove2017Logo2017 Pen-Del Conference Youth Rally 

By Eastern PA CCYM members
(Conference Council on Youth Ministry) 

Jess Eden

I was blessed to take part in this great event. Personally, my favorite part was coming together as one and sharing in worship, love, learning and laughter for the weekend. When the church unites, it reminds me of our important mission as Christ’s body, to work together for success of the church, using everyone and leaving out no one.

The bands clearly had Christ in them and were very gifted. They were able to transform a roomful of unrelated believers into a family of believers. As they played, people rushed to the stage to sing and praise God together.

The rally showcased the outpouring of love, support and respect people have for others, including me. I participated in the Spittin Da Word contest, and CCYM members came offering kind words of encouragement. The judges were very supportive and gave me helpful feedback. In the end, I did not win the contest. However, I did walk away with good advice for future sermons as well as a few opportunities to talk with people about my plans for the future.

Overall, the rally showed me the value of friends and what can be accomplished in the future of our Eastern PA CCYM. As we embark on expanding our own youth rally to a full day this year, I’m looking forward to seeing how large our rally can one day become and the love of Christ it will offer to our youth.


Chris Ortolf

The rally answered many questions I came with about the place for my religion socially and mentally. It comes at a good point in the school year because there is usually overwhelming stress and few helpful breaks.

I came forward with some answers during the breakout session that I would not have given much consideration to otherwise. It affected me just as much as the audience, I believe, and it really shed some light on love as a concept.

Matthew Calderone

My favorite aspect of the entire rally was when people came back after the altar call. You could really feel how much of an impact it had on those who participated at the stage. It felt like the Holy Spirit was flowing through them, and they brought that right back to those sitting at their seats.

Steve Fitzhugh spoke to many hearts through his no-games, raw view of life and its many issues that people young and old face daily. He showed that no matter what you’re dealing with, God is always there to show you which choices may save your life and the lives of others.


Matthew Lynch

I enjoyed having quality time to worship God and to spend with my youth group. Because this wasn’t my first time, I had to look deeper into what I felt that God was leading me to. The impact I felt was to help me to push my limits and trust my FUTURE in him.

Mei-Ling Blackstone

The rally was something that was overdue for me. It impacted me in ways I wasn’t expecting and in ways that I’m still trying to figure out. The entire weekend rejuvenated me spiritually, and it prepared me to tackle my last semester in high school.

Zealand was an amazing band that played songs that we were all familiar with and could enjoy. The best part was when Zealand stopped singing, and you only heard the thousands of people singing in unison. It was as if the Holy Spirit was flowing out of every person singing, and you could just feel the spirit lifting you up. You didn’t just hear everyone singing; you felt it from your heart to your soul.

Steve Fitzhugh was real. He didn’t try to sugarcoat life, or tell us that his life was awesome and that playing in the NFL was a blessing. It wasn’t about that. He focused on real life. He shared hardships in his life that most would never want to talk about again; but he did it to connect with youth who may be in a rut right now in life. He is living proof that any of us can get through anything that life throws at us because we have God on our side.

Being able to be a part of CCYM has changed my life and my relationship with God. Having the opportunity to lead a session with the guidance of David Piltz was an honor and an experience that I’ll never forget. We got to interact and share some stories about our lives that hopefully connected with the youth there. Also, the fact that 400-plus youth decided to come to an early morning session while there was a snowstorm outside was really meaningful.


Jose M Tirado

My favorite part of the rally was definitely the speaker (Steve Fitzhugh). He said a lot of stuff that really stuck out to me. Like, when he said that he was so excited to be a father, and then they found out that it was a miscarriage. That really stuck out to me because it is living proof that God can get you through anything.

My favorite band was Zealand because they were so energetic about God and his love for us. It really moved me.

Over all, the rally was an amazing experience for me because I now have a better understanding of what God wants for me and my life. The most meaningful part for me in the sessions was when we shared about our experiences in the prayer room. It really gave me an experience of reflection on my life.

Kayla Bartkewich (former CCYM member)

My favorite part about these youth rallies is when they do the altar call. I’ve seen them various times, but every one has a different effect on me. Steve (Fitzhugh) really spoke to me about love. I remember him talking about how if you do not have God in your life you make different decisions, and how even the smallest decisions are affected by your love for God. Leaving this youth rally, I felt loved by God even more. Everyone that was a part of my experience helped me realize that I am truly blessed.  Being a former CCYM member puts things in perspective as I watch the younger members experience the great work they do and how it changes them as persons.  It amazes me as they grow with every event, seeking new ideas and making new friends.  This event is amazing overall, and I hope to never stop coming to these rallies, I recommend them for all!


Photos by Sabrina Daluisio and John Coleman. See our “EPAC CCYM at Pen-Del Youth Rally” album and our full “Pen-Del Youth Rally 2017” album on Flickr for more great photos!