Milton Gilder is the Director of the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation
In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful,
in the Lord I will rejoice!
Look to God, do not be afraid.
Lift up your voices, the Lord is near;
lift up your voices, the Lord is near.
Sings the Duke Youth Academy as she ascends the staircase to the York room for morning prayer. Now in its 17th year, the Duke Youth Academy convened at the Duke Divinity School with students as near as Durham, North Carolina and as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico for an immersive week of Christian community centered around common celebration, common work and common prayer.
Our common celebration is daily Eucharist. This celebration of Eucharist spills out into our laughter-filled meals and spontaneous dance through the halls of the Divinity School.
Our common work is the creative and intellectual re-imaging of the church and discovering our calling in the church. Our work is in rigorous conversation with academic scholars and biblical text. We learn to ask new questions, see scriptures anew and find our voice to participate in God’s near work at DYA and in our local churches.
Our common prayer is our rhythm of daily prayer and worship. Prayer saturates our day in the rising of the sun, in our meals, in our worship, and in our small groups. Our prayer and worship ushers our community into the diverse breath of Christian worship from negro spirituals, to Spanish worship music, to traditional hymns.
Our community begins anew each summer singing the anthem In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful – thankful for another DYA and the spirit forming us all into new ways being and imaging the church.