This is an official, annual youth conference of the Western American Diocese; it is sponsored for the purposes of educating our youth in the tenants of the Orthodox Faith and engendering acquaintances and friendships for the young people that for them reaches beyond the usual pool of acquaintances limited within respective parishes. Every year the conference has been efficaciously hosted in a different parish of the Diocese. This variation in venue provides the youth with exposure to other parishes in the area.
This year’s conference had an unprecedented number of attendees, which in the past has averaged around fifty participants. This time, Saint Martin the Merciful Church, its Father Rector – Archpriest James Baglien, and the parishioners of the community hosted over ninety youth and supporting guest staff. The schedule of lectures and the activities was well balanced and the Lenten meals were plentiful and nourishing. Many thanks to the local community for all of the hard work its members accomplished in order to make the conference a success, especially the brand new parish hall which spaciously housed the lectures and meals.
The program: two keynote speakers were invited to the conference, and two outings were organized off site. In addition, praises were raised up to God and to His Saint Herman of Alaska to whom these conferences are dedicated. The youth were encouraged to, and had the opportunity to confess their sins and receive the Holy Mysteries of Christ at the Divine Liturgy. The majority did so. There were workshops dedicated to the art of Liturgics. By singing, altar serving, and reading during the Divine Services, the youth had practice and concrete application of the skills covered in the workshops.
Other workshops included: cultivating faith in our times, relationships both with God and neighbor, as well as roundtable discussions that provided an opportunity for the youth to ask questions about our Faith; combined, these workshops and discussions created a profound impression on the young men and women. Surrounded by ninety peers, the youth found that they are not alone in their Orthodox identity and struggles to find their faith.
Below the Western American Diocese Media Team presents videos of the lectures read to the attendees by the keynote speakers, Priest Timothy Pavlatos (St. John the Baptist Church, Beaverton, OR. More information here) and Matushka Elena Perekrestov (San Francisco, CA). These presentations are outstanding and received positive responses from our youth. Two more videos follow: excerpts from one of the workshops and the closing youth talent show.
See also below the photo gallery of the event prepared by the WAD Media Team.
Many thanks to the financial sponsors of this youth conference and to all of the volunteers!
Glory be to our God!
Reverend Paul Volmensky