A small portion of the Youth Family was finally able to gather approximately a week ago. After months of dreaming and planning, the youth staff were successfully able to host and lead our annual Merge retreat. Merge is a special retreat because it is for rising sixth graders and seniors only. It allows for the youngest in the Youth Family to be introduced to the youth staff, the senior class, and Youth Ministry without being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people and excitement around them. Usually, we spend the night at Asbury Hills; however, this year we spent the weekend in the AYMC gym. Everyone wore their masks, and we socially distanced ourselves by positioning hula hoops six feet apart from each other. It felt different, but somehow we were all still able to connect and begin building relationships with one another. To top it off, Jim invited the sixth graders into the Sanctuary to be a part of our special Sunday service with Kyshona Armstrong and Ryan Madora. It was a fantastic weekend, and it was much needed after a long hiatus over the summer.
—Will Raybon

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