“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27
June 5-8, Identity Youth Week exploded onto the scene of St. Louis’s South City with the purpose of engaging youth from grades 7-12. Think VBS for middle and high school students. During this four-day camp the youth dove deep into how their identity is rooted in their baptism. Powerful speakers, meaningful Bible studies, music, mission/serving projects, shared meals and team building exercises in the context of peer groups filled their time together. The primary lesson: Our identity in Christ changes everything.
Three Lutheran churches (Epiphany, St. Trinity, Trinity-Soulard) partnered to launch this ministry, in which Christian Friends of New Americans (CFNA), with their numerous New American students, played a vital role. They, together with young people from the Lutheran congregations, soon found themselves caught up in a new dynamic as they together built and painted bug houses, sang praise songs and danced to music as bubbles blew around them. Before it was over, two New American youth had asked for baptism.
Several youth remarked that of the three service locations, the hours at CFNA were their favorite, with some asking how they could volunteer on a more regular basis. As we plan next year’s Identity Youth Week, the partnership with CFNA will remain at the heart of this immersion into life within the Body of Christ.
Epiphany Lutheran Church