From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
RECORD CROWD PACKS PRESBYTERIAN YOUTH TRIENNIUM
05 May 1996 11:51:04
95273 RECORD CROWD PACKS PRESBYTERIAN YOUTH TRIENNIUM
By Julian Shipp
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.--Summer's intense heat couldn't stifle the enthusiasm
of nearly 6,000 young Presbyterians from all over the United States, Canada
and the world as they shared their common bond through Jesus Christ at the
record-breaking 1995 Presbyterian Youth Triennium at Purdue University.
According to officials, 5,901 youths attended the July 25-30 event,
the most in Triennium history. Held every three years, the Triennium is
designed as a growth experience for the mind, heart and soul of
Presbyterians age 15-19 and adult advisors in every presbytery. The
Triennium is co-sponsored by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the
Presbyterian Church in Canada and Cumberland Presbyterian Churches.
"What keeps me coming back year after year is seeing all these people
representing Christ's body," said Lisa Stine, a Triennium design team
member from Portland, Ore. (Cascades Presbytery). "I've never seen it
anywhere else in my life represented so clearly."
"The worship services were unbelievable -- you wouldn't believe that
worship could have something like that from regular worship services," said
Jaclyn LaWanda Smith, from New Orleans, La. (South Louisiana Presbytery).
"The speakers really did a good job of keeping our attention.
"I think that [church leaders] realize that they don't have enough
young people in the churches," Smith said. "And they're beginning to
realize that if they want to keep them there they've got to give them
something to do."
In keeping with the Triennium theme "And The Walls Came Tumbling
Down," taken from Ephesians 2: 13-14, participants were challenged to tear
down the barriers that keep young Christians from God through skits,
messages from preachers, music and interaction through close-knit peer
Daily activities at the Triennium included worship, Bible study, small
group meetings, workshop seminars, recreation, concerts and other special
events custom-tailored to teens.
For example, participants were treated to an infectious series of
dance moves, and pop and traditional worship songs each morning during
"energizers" conducted by Lynn Turnage of Black Mountain, N.C.; Juan
Travino of Rockdale, Texas: Sharon J. Willis, of Atlanta; and Gus LaZear of
The multi-dimensional performing arts group "Simple Gifts" from the
San Francisco area, Veterans of the 1983 and 1992 Triennium, kept things
interesting through a series of skits and dramatic performances depicting
the life and times of Jesus. Group members include Cheryl and Mark
Goodman-Morris and Kristy Logan.
And when it came time to get down to serious business, the preachers
used contemporary themes and imagery in addressing their youthful
For example, Mitzi Minor's sermon "So What Is Evil Like, Do You
Think?," compared the temptations today's young people face to Christ's
encounter with Satan following 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.
"What is whispered in your ear most? What is your greatest
temptation?," inquired Minor, assistant professor of New Testament at
Memphis (Tenn.) Theological Seminary. "I want to suggest that evil is
carried by many voices, that there are many directions in which we can face
those things that we are afraid of. Fears that Jesus faced when he carried
out his gospel."
Other speakers included Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., pastor of Riverside
Church in New York City; the Rev. Linda Ashfield, co-pastor of Knox
Presbyterian Church in Waterloo, Ontario; and the Rev. Tom Tewell, pastor
of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York.
During their leisure time, youths browsed through the Cumberland
Presbyterian Bookstore from Memphis, Tenn., attended a college/seminary
fair, gazed at exhibits from all over the world, purchased souveniers and
gifts, watched movies, and chowed down on pizza and other snack foods
provided by the university at their residence halls.
But with nearly 10 planned recreation options, major fun was the order
of the day and design team members like Kenneth "Buddy" Morrow from Poland,
Ohio, (Eastminster Presbytery) were charged with keeping the excitement
levels higher than the humidity. For his contribution to the Triennium,
Morrow helped inflate thousands of multi-colored tube balloons and assisted
teens frolicking in the mud during recreation periods.
"I think it's a miracle in itself that people come here every three
years from all over the world to worship God," Morrow said amidst a sea of
colorful balloons kept in constant motion by hundreds of teenagers. "You
always meet new people, even new people [while your traveling] that you
didn't even know lived close by you. It's really neat."
"It was what I expected and more," said Tory Cummings, a first-time
participant from Baton Rouge, La., (South Lousiana Presbytery). "I wish I
could have come three years ago because of the unity of everybody just
Leanne Brower, a first-time Triennium participant from Gallup, New
Mexico, (Santa Fe Presbytery) said the event was truly a life-changing
experience for her.
"I learned a lot about myself from [my peers]," Brower said. "I want
to stay in touch with these people for a long time because I feel like I've
bonded with them and it's pretty cool."
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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