We have had an exciting fall! This school year has been up and running and it is going by so fast. The youth calendar has been busy with the Fall Kickoff Cookout, food drives for the Park Ave. Food Pantry, Laser Tag at the Halloween Outreach, and our first ever Youth Progressive Dinner, which was a memorable evening out where we enjoyed a wonderful six course meal in six different homes.
As always, we have the two goals of 1. encouraging the youth to become followers of Jesus, and 2. to help them embrace the path towards adulthood. A couple of ways that we have pursued these goals have been challenging our students to read roughly five chapters of the Bible per week in our Wednesday Bible study. We have just finished the Gospel of Mark and will begin the book of Esther. The Sunday School has been reading through Proverbs and Psalms, but the class took a bit of a break as most of our youth in the class decided to attend the New Members class this fall. We are looking forward to bringing in many youth to be members of Ashland very soon.
On a logistical note, I am happy to introduce a few new youth leaders to the team .
Let’s introduce the ladies first. Kate Sereno, who became a member of Ashland this past August, started working with the youth through the girl’s Bible study and then she was thrown in the deep end. She is a pre-school teacher in Philadelphia and could potentially become known as “the nicest” youth leader that we have. Tiffany Winther got married to John in August, moved to New Jersey from Michigan and experienced an earthquake! Since she survived that, she knows that she is ready for anything, so she joined the youth staff to serve along with her husband.
Now meet the gentlemen. Doug Hoepp came to us through the Matt Ford’s family. Doug brings a true and genuine joy and is possibly the friendliest person I have met in New Jersey. We are excited to have him on board. Joe Carty, who is a legend in the youth ministry world has joined with our team of volunteers! Joe is such a great source of wisdom and guidance for the students and he is truly loved by all our kids. And last, but certainly not least, our recent graduate, Jon Graham, has officially begun working with our Middle School group. Jon’s greatest gift is to serve. I like to say that Jon’s role is to “make things work” which he does with whatever task I need him to do. It is so good to see such a young man have such a heart for the ministry that is also coupled with the faithfulness to complete the task.
These five newcomers join the youth leadership team that already consists of Josh and Sarah Johnson, John Winther, Chris Slone, Matt Ford, Jessica Proctor, Matt and Robin Thompson, and Ken Buck.
We have a few important upcoming events:
Philly Photo Shoot has been moved to Sunday, December 4th, right after church. We will return by 5:00 PM. There will be no youth group that evening.
Youth Christmas Gift Exchange – Dec. 18 from 5:00-8:30. Bring a $10 valued gift to exchange via a White Elephant gift swap and bring $5 for dinner.
Voorhees Pediatric Visit – Dec. 21 6:15-8:00 PM. The first ten students to sign up to go will go visit the children who are cared for at Voorhees Pediatric.
Middle School Winter Retreat – Jan. 13-15 for students 6th-8th grades. The cost is $100 and will be held at Tel Hai Camp and Retreat in Honey Brook, PA. telhaicamp.org Sign up deadline is Jan. 8.
High School Winter Retreat – Feb, 24-26 for grades 9-12. The cost is $120 and will be held at Camp Men-O-Lan (where we have been that last two years.) Sign up deadline is Feb. 12.
Youth Ministries Director