Oct 02, 2023 | Mecan Payne

Dear Friends,

We are still basking in the glow of the incredible IGNITE Conference we just shared! This year’s theme “Belong” truly resonated with each of us, as reflected in our theme verse:

“So in Christ we, though many, form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others.”

Romans 12:5 (NIV)

Held at the scenic Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood, NJ, from September 29th to October 1st, the conference was a stirring mixture of worship, inspiration, and fellowship for more than 900 youth and leaders.

Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to North Point Worship for their soul-stirring melodies and to Ripe Creatives for a captivating concert that glorified God through music. We were also graced with profound messages from Rev. Lydia Sohn, shedding light on the essence of unity, belonging, and our precious position within the community of believers.

Saturday night was deeply touching with a time of collective prayer, where each one of us was tenderly reminded of our unique and cherished place in the family of God; and Sunday morning culminated in a tangible reminder of our radical belonging through the sacrament of Holy Communion led by Bishops John Schol (Eastern PA & Greater NJ) and Hector Burgos (Upper NY). Bishop Schol, who has been committed to IGNITE since its inception in 2014, was honored during his final participation as the Bishop of Greater New Jersey before his retirement and was met with a standing ovation.

Our commitment to mission and outreach remained strong. IGNITE attendees came together to pack 21,168 meals in collaboration with Rise Against Hunger, and, to quote Bishop Schol, “young people led the way” by going beyond the challenge of $5,000 and raising $5,465 for the #ForTanzania Campaign. These acts are a testament to the collective power of our community when unified in purpose and spirit.

Looking Forward: 3 Next Steps!

  1. Sharing All MediaRelive the moments and feel the spirit again! Please find the wrap-up video above and photos below. All photos and videos are royalty-free, so share it far and wide, reminding others of our incredible journey together.
  2. Stay ConnectedMake sure to sign up for our mailing list to stay updated on all things IGNITE. We have some exciting things brewing, especially our upcoming collaborative youth groups initiative.
  3. Attention Youth Leaders:Mark your calendars for the IGNITE Youth Leader Days:
    • January 27 at Hopewell UMC in Downingtown, PA, and
    • February 24 at Aldersgate UMC in East Brunswick, NJ.
    These are days you won’t want to miss!

Thank you for making the IGNITE Conference an unforgettable experience. Let’s carry the fire of belonging with us every day, reminding ourselves and others that in Christ, we all have a place.

See you next year! #IGNITE&GO

Mecan Payne,
Next Gen Program Specialist