Youth UN Trip (Click on image for larger view)

High School Youth Spend 2 Days at the United Nations

This February, for the eighth year, I’ll be accompanying high school youth from across New York State to the Church Center at the United Nations for a a 2-day seminar.  While there, young disciples get to experience what it means to be part of the church as a world-wide movement in service to justice and peace.

Annual Youth Leadership Forum: Toward Racial Healing: February 15–17

This year’s topic is “Toward Racial Healing”. We will examine the roots of racial tensions in our own nation. More broadly, we will also see how discrimination and prejudice based on ethnic differences plays out in nations around the world and between nations. We will be witnesses, for example, of how racial divides inform immigration policy, and how that affects what we see in the news — from Syria to Mexico, and even right along New York State’s border with Canada.

What Can Participates Expect?

By far, the most important thing these young disciples will discover in our time together will be that they don’t have to wait to be instruments of God’s healing power. They will discover that Jesus has given them gifts and voices they can use right now, in the churches they attend every Sunday — your church and my church — to reverse the harm done by the sin of racism.  They will discover that, though they may come from small churches where they feel isolated and alone as young people, they are not alone. The friends they meet, and the connections they make will continue beyond these 3 days into their college years and beyond.

How do I know? Because for the past 7 years, I’ve seen it happen. Time and time again.

The churches of the Albany Presbytery have played a key role in this happening over the years. For several years, as part of the former “Fab 5” Presbytery Partnership Group, the churches of the Albany Presbytery contributed funds for this transformative project. For the past three years, the trip has happened as a ministry of the New York State Council of Churches, and the Synod of the Northeast has remained a key stakeholder in the project.  Over the years, more than 120 young Presbyterians from across the state have made the journey with us.

Making this annual pilgrimage to the UN has become one of the most meaningful, worthwhile things I do.  Thank you for being a part of it.  You can learn more about the trip planned for this year on the Albany Presbytery Website: Annual Youth Leadership Forum: Toward Racial Healing 

Brooke NewellThe Rev. Brooke Newell is the Director of Social Witness for the NY State Council of Churches. In this capacity, she coordinates the Council’s advocacy and activism campaigns.  She also serves as Pastor of the Potsdam United Methodist Church.  She shares her home with her husband Caspar Green, their son Silas, and way too many pets.  Once, Silas told his Sunday School teacher, “My mom is a Methotyrian.  She makes lots of posters.”

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