Evening Youth Group and High School Activities
Each year we schedule regular evening youth group, which is a casual get-together for the youth to come relax with their friends. Our youth come from several different area high schools, so this is another opportunity to spend time together. Due to fluctuating schedules, the chosen evening isn’t set until the kids have an idea of which night during the week will best suit them.
Additionally, we work in other fun activities like movie nights, and “Build Stuff with Paul!” Paul MacNellis is a favorite adult leader who teaches the youth skills such as using power tools and building, which give our kids an advantage when we head out for the summer trips, which often utilize these skills.
Confirmation Ceremony for 9th Grade Youth
Confirmation is not a graduation, or a declaration that they have full unwavering faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and it’s not a statement that they’ve learned all there is to know about the Christian and Lutheran tradition. It is not an ending, but rather a beginning!
What the Confirmation ceremony does establish is that these young people are choosing to be part of our faith community; that they are willing to struggle with and lean on others in that community when their faith is weak, and reciprocate for others when needed. They are pledging to continue learning and striving to follow Jesus, with the full understanding that we need others to help us do that. Ultimately, the confirmation ceremony is about community.
The Confirmation Ceremony at Prince of Peace is always held on Reformation Sunday (the last Sunday in October), and we encourage you to invite your family and friends! There is also a preparation meeting and lunch for these youth and their parents, held after worship on one of the preceding Sunday’s in October. This meeting will guide the youth and their parents through the order of the service, and continue to strengthen the bonds they have built over the preceding two years.
High School Discussion Group (9th-12th grade)
On Sunday mornings, during the learning hour, the high school youth hold their weekly discussion group. We don’t call it Sunday School, because at this level, the youth are now wrestling with deeper issues in their lives, and the discussions they have serve to help them navigate their increasingly complex worlds as followers of Jesus Christ.
The springboard for these discussions comes from a book study (new each year), and the conversations go from there. These conversations are often deeply meaningful, and are possible because of the level of trust and community that has been built up during all of their prior experiences together. Furthermore, new youth are warmly welcomed and often surprised at the bonds they quickly build here.
Fall Peer Ministry Lock-In (9th-12th grade)
This is an opportunity to gain peer ministry and leadership skills, all while building relationships with other youth from Southwest Michigan!
This event also offers a training session to be a small group leader at the MI Gathering. Small Groups provide a time to emotionally and socially engage on a deeper level at the Gathering.
Shop n’ (not) Wrap (6th-12th grade)
Early in December each year, the youth sponsor two families in need for Christmas. We share a meal together, then head to Meijer with lists in hand and start shopping! In previous years, we would then return to POP to wrap the gifts, however for the last several years we have sponsored families from the YWCA Domestic Assault Shelter, and they request that the gifts be not wrapped so the parent knows exactly what is being given to their child.
This event is fun, but the requests on the lists are nearly always surprising to the youth as they are a sobering reminder that many in our community lack basic necessities.
MI Gathering (9th-12th grade & young adults)
The MI Gathering is an opportunity for groups of high school aged youth and young adults age 18-25 to experience four days of faith formation, service, leadership and community. The MI Gathering offers participants an opportunity to experience meaningful worship, engage in small groups, serve others, grow in faith, and have a blast!
The Gathering takes place each year from December 27-30, at The Lansing Radisson and the Lansing Center, in Lansing, MI.
Famine: Act 2Day 4Tomorrow (6th-12th grade)
(Formerly 30 Hour Famine)
Each year, the youth at Prince of Peace, along with many adults, participate in what we call “The Famine.” The 24 hour event is held from a Friday through Saturday, with a presentation during worship on Sunday. For many years, this event was held in the late fall, but in 2016 we moved it to the spring.
The youth stop eating after lunch on Friday, and our fast is broken first with Holy Communion, and then a simple meal for dinner on Saturday. During this time we focus on hunger issues in our own community and around the world through various activities, including a service component.
We dwell on our own hunger pains, so that we might gain a better understanding of what it means to face chronic hunger. We choose to go without food, so we can be in solidarity with those who have no choice. This is a powerful event that our youth have come back for year after year.
Senior High Camps at Stony Lake
Returning to summer camp as a high school youth is a worthwhile experience! In addition to the classic camp experience, these older teens will be challenged to dive deeper into their role as members of their community, as well as to further deepen their relationship with Jesus.
Bridge Builders (2-year program): Grow as a leader, develop peer ministry skills, and join the fight against racism as an expression of your faith and our call to love our neighbors. (grades 9-12)
Servant Hearts: Make a difference in the name of Christ through service, enjoy camp classics, and embark on an afternoon at Michigan Adventure! (grades 8-12)
Counselor-In-Training: Learn how to be a camp counselor while still being a camper. It’s the best of both worlds! Campers return for a second week to practice skills learned in the first week. (grades 10-12)
Summer Service Program & Mission Trip (9th-12 grade)
Each summer, the high school youth take a trip for the purpose of growing in their faith and relationship with Jesus Christ through serving in a community. The youth who attend, along with the adults who accompany them also grow in their relationships with each other as they learn about the community they are in and the struggles they face. These trips require much planning, preparation, and come at a higher cost than smaller local events, but we have found that the return on the investments have been well worth it.
During a year when there is a National Youth Gathering, this keystone event for ELCA youth replaces the regular summer trip. The years in between the National Gatherings have included, for example, Workcamp (Group Mission Trips) and Road Trip Detroit (Living Water Ministries).
2016: Road Trip Detroit
Prince of Peace began building a relationship with our neighbors in Detroit at the ELCA National Youth Gathering that took place there in 2015. In 2016, we continued to foster that relationship on a more personal level, and there has been much excitement to continue building that relationship and learning about social justice in our home state.
ELCA National Youth Gathering
Every three years, 30,000 high school youth and their adult leaders from across the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gather for a week of faith formation known as the Gathering. Through days spent in interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service and fellowship, young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives.
An important part of the Gathering’s ministry are the two pre-events, the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE), a faith formation and leadership development event primarily for youth of color, and the tAble, an ELCA gathering of youth with disabilities.
The 2018 ELCA National Youth Gathering will be in Houston, TX, from June 27 – July 1, 2018! Youth who will be entering 9th grade in the fall of 2018, through those who graduated from high school in 2018 are invited to participate!
Graduation Sunday Celebration
We’re proud of our youth, and while they may be moving away after graduation, we want them to know that they go with the blessings and support of their faith community at Prince of Peace!
Each year, on the last day of Sunday School (the Sunday before Memorial Day weekend), we hold a service of Godspeed and blessing for our graduates and their families.
Immediately following that service, we have a celebration picnic to honor them, as well as our teachers that have worked so faithfully for our young people throughout the year.
Other Youth Leadership Opportunities
Youth Representative to POP Church Council
Each year at our Annual Congregational Meeting in January, we elect new members of our church council; one of those members is always a high school youth. The youth serves a one-year term, and along with council duties, also serves as the representative to our Youth Advisory & Planning (YAP) committee. Interested youth should notify the YAP team.
Youth Representative to Synod Council
We are part of the North/West Lower Michigan Synod, which includes nearly all of the Lower Peninsula except Detroit and its surrounding area. The synod council is similar to our own church council in function, but on a larger state-wide scale and with fewer meetings. The synod also elects a youth representative to its council, to serve a two-year term. Youth interested in serving need to be nominated by their pastor or youth leader, and will then appear on the ballot. The election takes place at the annual synod assembly.
The youth representative to synod council also has the option of being one of the two youth sent to represent our synod at the National Youth Leadership Summit.
National Youth Leadership Summit
The ELCA Youth Leadership Summit is an annual gathering for high school youth identified as leaders and adult representatives from each synod across this church. The summit focuses on leadership development through engaging speakers and thought leaders in key areas at the intersection of leadership and faith in daily life AND faith formation and building connections for high school youth in the ELCA.
Each synod sends two youth and one adult; interested youth should notify Megan Floyd to be nominated.