Silvi Pirn, Youth Minister

Class of 2022. I love this class very much. They are my farewell class—the last group of high school seniors I will have celebrated here at Kenilworth Union Church since the mid -000s.

On Sunday, May 15, 2022 we celebrated with what has been a church tradition for as long as anyone can remember—Youth Sunday. I suspect many of you missed it because we worshiped at an unconventional time—2 p.m. Celebrating Youth Sunday at morning worship, which is what we normally do, was too difficult a prospect for our Seniors. On Saturday, May 14, they celebrated the first proper prom, with pictures, dresses, tuxes, and limos and a downtown venue, afterparties, sunrises on the beach with friends…. This was the first proper prom the school had held since before COVID, so this prom just had to be the lived out to the fullest. Asking our seniors to be at church for morning worship the day after this epic prom would be unreasonable and unfair. So instead, we moved Youth Sunday worship to the afternoon. It was spectacular, relaxed, joyful, wonderful—everything a Youth Sunday should be. The icing on a great weekend of celebration for them.

Our seniors led worship. Our Youth Choir gave praise with well-rehearsed music. Our Director of Youth Ministry, Squire Prince welcomed the congregation and helped the choirs with his powerful voice and presence. Our youth leaders were recognized and celebrated by the Alison Tobey Smart Memorial Fund Committee. Mission trip leaders were recognized in honor of Wilson King. I commissioned our IMPACT mission team for their work in Hawaii in June. Our Junior Bell choir gave us the gift of a wonderful Hawaiian postlude.

What rose to the top of many poignant moments were the youth sermons shared by four graduating seniors, Kyle Born, Miles Fowkes, Anna Miller, and Tessa Minturn.

They are worth seeing and their words worth listening to, even if you do not get around to watching the whole service. Their faith and wisdom can guide and inspire us all. They remind us that God is the author of life—of past, present, and future, and that the future is graced with God’s goodness.

There is so much to celebrate with these seniors and their classmates. The middle years of their high school careers went missing to quarantine, “pods” of friends, restricted activities, remote school, hybrid classes, capacity restrictions, social distancing, masks that stifled communication and comprehension, and various COVID outbreaks among peers that brought with them extreme stress for all.

And now while COVID is not gone, our own lives feel so much more normal than they did just six months ago. We can go about our day-to-day remembering what has been, not fearing for what is yet to come.

In the words of Ken Medema sung by the KUC Youth Choir on Sunday:

We can see with clearer vision what confused us in the night.
The one who made the golden morning, the one who gave our spirits wings,
Gives us these hands to help each other on our way to greater things.

May God bless all the graduating seniors and all who are reaching education milestones near and far this spring. May God guide and protect them in truth and wisdom. May all people continue to grow in their faith to love and serve the Lord now and always. Amen.