Please read the two stories below:
one from a youth participant and one from a youth advisor:
The Presbyterian Youth Triennium was one of, if not the best experience I have had for my faith. No matter just how many times you are told the number of other kids, your peers, from across the nation that share your faith, there is no feeling like being on the Purdue University campus, walking to worship with an absolute sea of other people, all who share your beliefs.
At Triennium, I gathered an assortment of various pins given to me by other kids from places throughout the country. One of my personal favorites is a heart pin. It’s just a simple, red heart. It was given to me by the leader of my small group. Once a day, we broke into these small groups, for a more individualized feel from the massive expeditions that were the worship services. One of the things we did as a small group was create an Ebenezer. An Ebenezer, directly translated, is a “Stone of Help,” usually a set of stones that symbolize faith.
Now, being something as large scale as the Triennium, we did not simply use rocks, we used balloons. Each small group was given a panel of wire in a 4 x 10 grid, and we inserted colored balloons into the wire. As we placed these balloons in the wire grid, we each wrote something that matters to us on them. I went simple, with the thing that matters the most to me, my family. Why did we use colored balloons you may inquire? Because when all the wire grids of balloons were put together, the entire wall on the stage for the worship service was filled with a giant version of the logo for the Presbyterian Youth Triennium 2019. What was this logo? Aside from some text and pattern on the edges, it was a simple, red heart, much like my pin.
The theme of the Presbyterian Youth Triennium 2019 was “Here’s My Heart.” Looking at the monument of love that was this massive Ebenezer, with these colorful “stones” of help, the true meaning of the Triennium sunk into me. One need only put themselves ‘out there’ to feel such love. And that is what I learned at Triennium.
Kyle McHugh: High School Junior from United Presbyterian Church, Flanders
I experienced the Presbyterian Youth Triennium as a unique opportunity for Presbyterian youth to see, to feel, to experience, to know that they are part of something big, something that has passion and purpose, something that is reaching out to offer hope in a broken world. The Presbyterian Church USA became more than a logo for us. It now has more than 6,000 diverse and dynamic faces and voices from all over the world that we had the opportunity to hang out with for a week, spending time in worship, exploring scripture in small groups, being involved with mission projects, visiting the prayer center, eating, talking, playing, and walking around the campus of Purdue University.
For me, Triennium is like a giant sycamore tree that invited us all, like Zacchaeus, to climb above all of the things that normally crowd our minds and our hearts, in order to catch a clearer glimpse of Jesus and to hear his call on our lives.
Throughout the week, we were asked to consider 3 powerful words from the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing: “Here’s my heart.”
The important stuff in life – all the things that really matter – are heart led. And yes, following our hearts usually feels scary at first. For me, it is in those heart-led moments when I reach toward someone or something I don’t yet know or understand, or when I begin to do something I know I am not equipped to handle on my own that my faith comes alive. When I am in over my head I have little choice but to open my heart and ask for God’s help. My experience has been that each time, God provides what I need and then more. This was certainly the case at Triennium, where I met amazing youth and youth leaders from all over New Jersey, the United States and the world, where I made new connections, and was helped by those more experienced than I through the sometimes overwhelming adventure that is Triennium!
As our youth prepare to launch into their adult lives that may take them anywhere, Triennium lets them know loud and clear that the Presbyterian Church is alive and well wherever they may find themselves down the road. It is a heart-opening, life-changing opportunity not to be missed. Consider laying the groundwork now to bring a group of your youth to Triennium 2022! Those of us who went to Triennium this year will be coordinating periodic youth gatherings in Newton Presbytery to help with that process. We look forward to welcoming you!
Amy Clarkson, Triennium Chaperone
Union Hill Presbyterian Church