On a beautiful sunny weekend in October, participants from 13 parishes gathered for a weekend of fun, fellowship, and learning at the Diocesan Youth Event (DYE). The theme was “Science Fair: Faith and Fun in Farm and Forest,” and the weekend’s activities centered around the belief that learning more and understanding creation through science is one way to deepen our relationship with God.
Bellwether Farm was a great place to do this. Members of the Diocese with a scientific background came out in full force to lead activities for the youth, including: testing pond water, river water, and tap water for alkalinity and pH; baking sourdough and learning about edible bacteria; making bath fizzies by combining a variety of materials including wildflowers; working on the farm; protecting eggs with recycled materials for an egg drop; and “slicing and dicing DNA” using gel electrophoresis. Dr. Andy Jorgensen (St. Andrew’s, Toledo) also gave an interactive and informative talk on the spirituality of creation care and what we can do about climate change.
Between all of the learning and experimenting, the youth were also able to build relationships and have a lot of fun. There was time to visit the animals, play basketball, sit by the bonfire, and enjoy a movie night. We also played “Romans v. Christians,” a game that’s like a combination of hide-and-go-seek and capture the flag.
On Sunday morning, families and friends joined the youth to celebrate St. Francis with a roving church service. We stopped at various areas around the farm, praying, singing, and sprinkling holy water over the water, land, chickens, goats, and dogs. We celebrated Eucharist using the sourdough bread the youth had made the previous day.
It was the first youth event for Margaret, an 8th grader. She says, “I would describe DYE as a place where kids can be themselves and have some fun, not worrying about the stress of school and other things. I was most surprised at how easy it was to connect with the other kids at DYE. Everyone was so friendly and easy to talk to, making the weekend even more fun than I thought it was going to be. I was also surprised that I tried okra!” Another 8th grader, Michael, added “this would be a good event to bring a non-church friend to.”
That’s what we do best at Diocesan Youth Events—be ourselves, in ways that are often surprising, relaxing, exciting, and inviting. We spread Christ’s love through inclusion and relationships, looking at the world around us to see God’s presence everywhere. We can’t wait for the next youth event, and hope to see you there!