By The Rev. Tracey Russell
Youth Pastor, Christ Church Fox Chapel
200 youth and youth workers attended the Provincial Assembly in Chicago this July, to participate in PYG, the Provincial Youth Gathering. Being at PYG meant frisbee on the lawn, snorting stuffed pigs flying around, midnight pizza, and games played in the dark on the Wheaton campus- this was a youth gathering, after all! But PYG also had profound times of musical worship, teens lining up to get prayed for, testimonies of God’s healing, and 30 kids raising their hands to accept Jesus.
The Gathering was a combination of programming specifically for youth and participation in the larger Assembly sessions. The students heard from giants of the faith such as Louie Giglio, and Archbishop Ben Kwashi alongside adult Assembly attendees. But they also had personal talks and ministry just for their age group. Archbishop Kwashi and Mama Gloria took time to come preach to the students, and delivered a powerful call to believe and trust in Christ. Bishop Ruch also came to speak to the students, and brought a prayer team to minister to the kids. A fabulous worship band from California helped the youth spend time in the presence of God. And there were plenty of laughs and goofiness as the event was MC’d by our own Alex Banfield Hicks. Filled with encouragement from these sessions, many of the students went on to participate in a CSM outreach mission in Chicago after the Gathering, assisting at local soup kitchens and churches.
This was truly a Provincial event, with Anglican students representing churches from all over North America, including Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Connecticut and Texas. Youth leaders from these states worked for months to plan the event, under the leadership of The Rev. Canon Dr. Steven Tighe, Canon for Youth Ministry for the ACNA. Both the students and the leaders were encouraged and excited to get to know other Anglicans from around the country.
Will Chester, a youth pastor from Illinois, said, “I am so pleased looking back on the Assembly and mission trip…My kids loved Aliens and the other games, loved the worship, loved the whole experience. And I feel energized as a leader to have done it in partnership with brothers and sisters across the Province.”
Don’t miss the next PYG-mark your calendars for July 2019!