Montreat Youth Conference 2018 Recap:

From early morning Keynote to late night worships, hiking mountains, rock hopping, small groups, cards games, and everything in between it was an incredibly busy week. We lived together, we laughed together, a lot, maybe too much, we listened, and we learned.

The theme for the week was Lift Every Voice. We discussed the many different voices that we have in our lives. Difficult voices, silenced voices, united voices, our own voices, and most importantly, God’s voice.

In our discussions we talked about how God’s voice is the one that gives us life. He speaks, and we become.

We talked about how difficult voices come from places of both conflict and hurt. And how reconciliation is important. Reconciliation is ongoing. Reconciliation requires trust that God will always be present. And that we are called by God to remember. At this table, “Remember Me”. At this font, “Remember your baptism”. Forgiveness is more about acceptance than forgetting.

We also became painfully aware of margins. Where are the margins? Who are in the margins? These questions were asked both of the people in the room and the people of the world. We talked about hospitality as solidarity and mutuality with dignity. We read scripture and saw that Jesus loved everyone, and that we should do the same.

We talked a lot about privilege. Privilege is not something to be ashamed of but rather something that allows us to be a part of a bigger voice. Shame breeds anxiety. Being ashamed of our gifts causes us to use our voices for things that don’t always strengthen the kingdom of God. But together, recognizing and using our gifts makes us one body of Christ.

My favorite example from the week was the word “harmony”. The definition of harmony is:

the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect. OR agreement or concord.

Our Keynote leader, Mihee Kim-Kort said, “As people of faith we are not called to fix each other but to support each other in community. To have true harmony. And to have true harmony, we have to have many different voices coming together to make one beautiful sound. Let’s use that harmony to praise God together.”

Janie Bruce
Youth & Children’s Ministries