Stepping up to the plate at St. Paul’s

      

A little bit about us

        I never thought of myself as the type of person who would take on a leadership position. Usually I like to follow and just go with the flow. However, when the youth group at  St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New York City needed a new leader, I decided to give it a shot. In the past I have always enjoyed attending youth group. It was important to me to stay in a community after my confirmation in 2015. For me youth group was an opportunity to get to know people. So, when the opportunity to lead the group came around, I asked the previous director what the job requires and how much time I need to dedicate to this group. She told me what had to be done and trusted me with this position. It was also decided that Hannah from the eleventh grade, who previously helped a little with organizing, would be my full-time partner.

      In the past two years, the youth group came together once a month on a Friday from 6:30-8:30 at the parsonage to spend time with one another and grow as a community. For each meeting there was a certain theme, for example for Christmas we’d make Christmas cookies, in the summer we’d have a pool party, etc.  This year, Hannah and I decided we were going to make a few changes. We would still take on some themes, but organize them a little differently. At our first meeting, we started with a campfire and some games to get to know each other. It was a pleasant start into the year. Following our first meeting came our Halloween gathering. This time we decided to do a little competition. We divided the group into teams and each team had to carve a pumpkin together. The team who finished first got to enter our haunted house first and start looking for the hidden prize before the others. Of course, we also voted on which team created the best pumpkin. The lucky winner: Donald Trump. One team had decided to carve a Trump pumpkin (of course his name was carved in there nice and huge). A truly amusing and scary result.

            In the future we also plan on taking a few trips. We plan on going to Six Flags, a synagogue in Manhattan and towards the end of the year maybe having a picnic in Central Park. Our goal is to grow as community and strengthen teamwork. Of course, everyone should have a wonderful experience, and we hope there will be something everyone can find interesting and enjoy! Everyone from Confirmation age (7th,8th grade) until 10th grade is welcome, regardless of religious affiliation.

 

An Interview with some of our members

 

How long have you been coming to youth group?

I’ve been going to youth group off and on for three years.

Anne Schieb                                                                                                                         

This is my third year going to youth group.

Raphaela Groß

I started going to the youth group at the beginning of the year after learning about it at the start of my confirmation process.

Felix Alberts

 

What do you like about the youth group?

I like the fact that we can contribute to the youth group and give our ideas.  We also have the opportunity to grow as a group and there’s always something new to do.

Anne Schieb

I really enjoy being a part of the youth group. Through the youth group I can meet people my age. This is especially important to me, since I go to the French school and can’t speak German as much.

Felix Alberts    

I enjoy coming to youth group. The pumpkin carving at our Halloween gathering was especially fun and I really enjoy events like these.

Raphaela Groß

 

What would you like to have changed about the youth group?

My suggestion would be to make sure that people know about the youth group. Many of my friends, especially the ones that just moved to New York, didn’t know about the youth group. However, I don’t think there needs to be much change in the program.

Anne Schieb                          

I don’t really think much needs to be changed. The only thing I would suggest is that we do more activities outside of our normal gathering.

Felix Alberts

I would really like to go somewhere with the youth group, but otherwise I don’t think there needs to be much change.

Raphaela Groß

 

Could you see yourself leading the youth group?

I don’t think I would want to lead the youth group. When leading the youth group you have a lot of responsibility. However, I like helping out and would like to do more. I’m leaving at the end of this year, so I wouldn’t be able to lead this youth group anyway.

Anne Schieb

Yes, I could definitely imagine leading the youth group. Unfortunately, I will probably be leaving at the end of the school year.

Felix Albert

Yes, it would definitely interest me to become to become youth group leader. I think it would be fun to be able to organise our gatherings. Generally, I think it would be a great experience.

Raphaela Groß

 

Interview with the pastor (Miriam Groß)

 

Why is the youth important for the Church?

Youth are the inspiring present and future of any congregation. They form how our Church will be. Through their actions they inspire, are thought provoking and forward thinking.

Being involved into youth ministry for almost 25 years, I have experienced  that youth is the building block of any congregation. Without them, the future of a Christian commitment is at stake.

What do you wish from your youth group?

My youth group is a delight and an inspiring part of my ministry. I love seeing them develop as responsible members of our Church and in society as a whole.

The leadership of the group is strong and visionary. They are committed to live and inspire others through the commandment to love your neighbor and self. In general  they are devoted and modern role models of Christianity. What else could I as a pastor wish for?

Before you came to New York  in the fall of 2014, what did the youth work look like in St. Paul’s?

Unfortunately, besides the Class of Confirmation there were no further groups and activities for youth.

How did your youth group start in St. Paul’s and how has it developed?

After my first Class of Confirmation, which was confirmed in May 2015, Leonie Cremer, Julian and Daniel Toeller approached me with the wish to establish a youth group in

St. Paul’s. In the following fall JT Paul started at our parsonage with monthly gatherings involving activities and faith.

When they resigned, Hannah Lübbert and Sophia Rehn became the new leaders. They are now bringing new and fresh ideas to the ministry of St. Paul’s.

By Sophia Rehn