“When Did We See You?” Event
Event Location: Grace First Presbyterian Church – Long Beach, California

Instead of a retreat or one specific event, we opted to use the grant money for multiple events over the course of a Sunday that included the church as a whole, yet focused greatly on youth involvement. The event day included two worship services, the fellowship hour following each service, as well as Youth Group that evening, all based on the PYT theme of “When Did We See You?” Each part of the day was broken down into the three sections provided in the Worship and Prayer Guide; See and Be Seen, Know and Be Known, Bless and Be Blessed.

At Grace First, on the first Sunday of every month, our church has IG (Intergenerational Worship.) Everyone from our youngest to our oldest worships together in the sanctuary. There is a lot of thought put into the service; to make it more inclusive, more engaging, and more of a group experience than a traditional service. This particular PYT Sunday was also Palm Sunday, and we invited the preschool children and their families to come worship and participate in the service as well. From the bulletin, decorations around the sanctuary and slides on the big screens (PYT graphics tab) to the Call to Worship, Prayer of Confession, and the Matthew 25:31-46 scripture reading (Worship & Prayer Guide), we were able to immerse the congregation completely in the WDWSY theme. Youth and young adults were active in the service anywhere from lay reading, singing solos (“I See You”), playing musical instruments and performing monologues flanked by a plush sheep and goat! My message to the congregation was focused on “See and Be Seen”; us seeing Jesus in everyone. The songs, “What if God Was One of Us” and “Jesus Loves Me” helped close out the services.

After both services, we have a fellowship hour where people can come and sit, socialize and snack. This was an opportunity for people to get to know each other better, especially our visitors and Preschool families. In this “Know and Be Known” part of the day, each table had games, “One of a Kind” and Matthew 25 Mad Libs” (from the Recreation Guide) cards, pens, and mazes and crosswords. Interacting with each other, and getting to know a little more about the person they might find themselves sitting next to in church one Sunday. We also treated the congregation to delicious cupcakes with edible palm leaves for fun on that Palm Sunday, and decorated the tables people sat at, as well as the food tables to make for a welcoming and inviting environment.

That evening, Youth Group worked around the “Bless and Be Blessed” part of the day. We played “String Geometry” and a form of the “Tic Tac Toe” game (both from the Recreation Guide) and had a lesson/discussion (from the Group Study Guide). We talked about what they think people see when they look at them or what they think they know about them, as well as the things no one knows about them. We had a great time celebrating Easter together with a great dinner (Wing Stop!) crafts, more games, music, dessert and even a pinata! It was a wonderful end to a great day. Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity!