Opening night of DYA each year is always a special kind of commissioning. Student-participants arrived earlier in the afternoon, either by plane or car, with several members of family in tow. After check-in we begin in fellowship around a table of barbecue and delicious mac-n-cheese. We then move to a time of celebration and worship.
This year’s opening worship was led by Marquice Miller and our talented team of mentors. During the sermon we were invited to the Lord’s Table by Reverend Julian Pridgen. We were reminded that the words of the gospel of John speak not only to coming of Jesus Christ but the incarnational quality of Jesus as both the life and resurrection. Rev. Julian reminded us that the invitation to the Lord’s Table is not merely an invitation to a place or an event, but to a person. For it is the body and blood Christ we are invited to taste and see. It is to this one that we draw near and have hope for unity and resurrection. You can download the service in full at this link.
“Sisters and brothers, it is not a matter of the stuff of this life or even an event, but of a who”
At the conclusion of the celebration of word and table students then said goodbye to family and old friends and moved into a time of orientation with our DYA director Alaina Kleinbeck. Director Kleinbeck instructed us all on the important rules for our communal life together. We will be fasting from screens and other forms of distraction as we work to form and foster a life-giving community together.
Time in mentor group was a delightful introduction to one another and the primary means of community building in the larger DYA community. Our six mentors this year are wonderful, creative, and faithful people from all around the country and from a variety of places and perspectives. Both our diverse students and leaders are blessed by the variety of experiences and interests. We followed mentor group up with some delicious fruit-cicles and laughter on the Divinity terrace under a warm North Carolina moonlit night.
We are prayerfully excited to see what all God has in store for us this opening week and following year of learning and growing together.
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