The Southern California Nevada Conference was represented at National Youth Event 2008 in Knoxville, TN by 53 youth and 19 adults representing 12 churches: Arcadia Congregational, Claremont UCC, First Congregational Church of Escondido, Irvine UCC, Las Vegas First Congregational, Las Vegas Northwest Community, Long Beach First Congregational, Riverside First Congregational, San Bernardino First Congregational, San Dimas Community, San Diego Christian Fellowship, and University City United Church.
The theme of the four day event was "Living The Life". During the event we joined with about 2900 others to sing, pray, and worship. We attended workshops; and in fact, Neal Washburn and Phil Jenkins were asked to facilitate a workshop in “Securing Spiritual Space on the Web.” We played sports. We listened to lectures and preachers. We made new friends. We connected with old friends. We stood in long lines to eat cafeteria food. We slept in the dorms of the University of Tennessee. We were challenged and inspired by the plenary speakers: Eboo Patel, Julia Butterfly Hill, and John Thomas.
Each night we gathered as the SCNC delegation where we became more acquainted with each other. As part of our time together, Phil Jenkins and Neal Washburn facilitated writing journal entries so that we would not forget what we had experienced each day. We also found that our SCNC delegation was not the smallest but it was not as large as the delegations from Ohio or Pennsylvania or other large Conferences.
It was good to be in the company of so many UCC'ers. What a sight to see. There was joy and laughter all around. There was also concern and compassion and prayers for the sadness in the world.
It is hard to describe the energy and excitement of so many UCC youth, young adults, and leaders in one place. On the last night in closing worship there were beach balls flying and electricity in the air. It seemed as though the band could play all night and we'd let them. One thing is for sure: In all that screaming and jumping we found that in our own unique ways we were "Living The Life" at NYE!