Michael spent an afternoon a few weeks ago in conversation with other clergy at the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia in University City. They were discussing how the church can best serve the needs of high school aged people; a particular focus of that conversation was how the church can help teens develop a language of faith that is meaningful for their context and helpful in their lives in a multi-faith world… among people of a variety of faiths and no faith.
At this meeting, he also heard more about this weekend’s Interfaith Center’s retreat for high school students, “Walking the Walk” planned for Kirkwood Camp in Stroudsburg. (leaving Bryn Mawr at 8 am on Sat. morning and returning by 4 pm on Sunday). The cost is $50. (and scholarships are available). Funded by the Bay Fund of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, this program intends to help develop young Christian leaders for an interfaith world.
Michael believes that it is really important for our young people to get away from home, from church, from everything they are used to — a change of context and crowd throw us all off just enough to enable all of us to look at ourselves, one another and our world anew. He and Billi will be accompanying our high school students.
The weekend is being planned by young people themselves (who are already involved in “Walk the Walk,” the Interfaith Center’s program), and will include:
outdoor hiking and recreational time,
art and storytelling and
working together on bible passages that are difficult and/or helpful for living in a multi-religious world.
(One of the youth worried that it might be too religious! Michael’s response was an assurance that among the 50 or so students expected at the retreat, surely there will be some others who are fearful of too much religiosity!
We are all scheduled, but if someone wants to go, even at the last minute, we can bring them along. (As well, if one of our youth has a friend who might be interested in coming, this is an event that would welcome newcomers.)