This week, we’re featuring the members of Hyperlink: Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth Gathering‘s specialist home team, as they offer their own perspectives on both the event and the ministry they are called to at the event.
Our first blog entry comes from Hannah Shirtliff, a native of Starbuck, Manitoba. As a member of the specialist home team, she is focused on telling the story of CLAY through video, blogging, and social media.
“It’s not about being at a party with Jesus as a guest, it’s about proclaiming Jesus as the party.”
– Father Bill Cliff (keynote speaker at CLAY 2010: Hands On)
Wow! After almost two years of committee meetings, emails, number-crunching, the NPC, drama troupe, band, and tech crew finally descended on Saskatoon earlier this week to set up for CLAY 2012: Hyperlink. As a member of the Specialist Home Team, I’ve been able to get an “inside look” at what goes into making a CLAY gathering run smoothly. Hint: it involves a lot of flexibility, patience, enthusiasm… and caffeine and cookies never hurt!
So what’s my role as a member of the Specialist Home Team? I’m telling the story of CLAY through social media, from setting up the first LGG to the moment that the MNO buses roll out of town. But what kind of story am I telling?
Eight hundred young people from across Canada flock to Saskatoon for a weekend. They attend a huge concert-style gathering in a conference centre with a band (and a “praise pit”), run around Saskatoon as part of a “Face Book-It” scavenger hunt, and attend a dance in the evening, meet new friends, buy t-shirts and CDs… And that’s just the first day! That’s CLAY on the surface, the part that’s easy to explain to friends back home who are a little skeptical about the whole “church” thing.
But the CLAY gathering is much more than a giant party, where Jesus “happens to be a guest”. The Spirit is here and working within us. How do I know? Because I can see it on the faces of the youth coming to their first LGG, who had no idea that they could worship God in this way. I can hear it at dinner, when people are discussing what they heard during the keynote speeches, a sentence or phrase that opened their eyes changed the way they think about their relationship with God. You can feel it in the praise pit as everyone links arms with friends and strangers and sings “Love is Here”. A community of faith is being built here.
This is the story that I want to tell. The story of a transformative weekend in a small city in Canada, where youth find a place in the church. Where they have the courage to ask questions about God, face their doubts, and take a leap of faith and join the 3inoneG network!
“Even Saskatoon can be a city on a hill.”
– Father Bill Cliff