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PCUSA NEWS <PCUSA.NEWS@ecunet.org>
Tue, 5 Aug 2003 09:09:21 -0500
Note #7859 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:
August 1, 2003
Youth Connection Assembly leaders ready for mixed doubles
by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE - A pair of youth elders who had emphasized service to others as a
priority for Christian living were elected co-moderators of the Presbyterian
Youth Connection Assembly (PYCA) on July 31.
Patricia Massey, of Laurinburg, NC, an elder at Laurinburg
Presbyterian Church in Coastal Carolina Presbytery, won a first-ballot
victory over Leslie Fuller, of Matthews, NC, and Allison Parry, of Topeka, KS
It took three ballots for Nathan Ballantine, an elder at Faith
Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, FL, representing Florida Presbytery, to
win election over Jamie McSpadden, of Rock Hill, SC, and Andrew Piccone, of
New Rochelle, NY.
The vote totals weren't announced.
Massey, who will be a first-year student at Davidson College this
fall, and Ballantine, a high school student - will preside together over this
third triennial PYCA, then moderate the Presbyterian Youth Council for the
next three years.
They succeed Leslie Chaggaris, now a sophomore at the University of
North Texas, and Adam Copeland, a sophomore at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.
Ballantine told the Presbyterian News Service that he first heard
God's call to run for co-moderator three years ago when he and Copeland, then
a high-schooler also from Tallahassee, were roommates at the second PYCA.
"Adam's victory was so awesome," Ballantine said, "and back in our
room, I tried on the (moderatorial) stole. I felt God's call to do this then,
but the stole dragged on the floor, and I thought, 'Either they're going to
have to shorten this stole, or I'm going to have to grow.'" (He has grown,
and the stole fits much better.)
Massey also felt the hand of God behind her decision to stand for
"I have felt called to this leadership position through many channels
in my life," she told the more than 500 delegates in her introductory speech.
She being the PYCA co-moderator is another in a series of experiences that
includes leadership at youth conferences at the Montreat Conference Center in
North Carolina, attendance at youth-leadership events at Union and Pittsburgh
seminaries, activities in her school and congregation and service as a Youth
Advisory Delegate at the 2002 General Assembly.
"Being here is a gift from God," she said, "and I see this as the
next part of my calling."
In addresses to the Assembly, both of the eventual winners emphasized
service to others as a priority in Christian living.
Responding to a question about the most critical issue facing youth
ministry today, Ballantine said: "We don't put into practice the way of
Christ in our lives and youth groups. Christ focused on living - his greatest
teaching was his life. That should be a priority for us."
Massey said translating "mountaintop experiences" such as the
Assembly into daily life is a challenge for young Presbyterians. "We come
here, we have this amazing experience, and then in a couple weeks it seems
like they're gone," she said. "Living out our faith from day to day is not
easy; it's a challenge, and a concern we should all have as Christians."
Asked who their heroes are, both mentioned people active in Christian
service. Massey answered immediately, "My little sister," and told a story
about how her sister was the only schoolbus passenger to step up to defend
another child who was being tormented. "I learn so much for her," she added.
"She's the most considerate person I know. She always puts others ahead of
herself, and sticks up for others even if she's the only one."
Ballantine cited his mother who, he said, grew up in a farming family
in a poor rural community. "She determined that she was going to make sure
that her kids and other kids around the world had resources that she never
had," he said. Then he ticked off a list of church projects and other
charities his mother supports - describing how her living room is often full
of stacks of supplies awaiting shipment to some needy corner of the world.
"She's taught me that to be a follower of Christ means to reach out, to get
involved, to get my hands dirty," he said.
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