$150 per student (includes a $75 deposit due March 22).
Preparations are now being made for our Mid-High Retreat April 24th-26th to Camp Glisson in Dahlonega, GA. Our theme for this year’s retreat is “Faith and Sexuality.” I wanted to take a minute and share with you a few thoughts on faith and sexuality within the context of today’s Christian youth culture.
In the United Methodist Church, we believe and teach that our sexuality is a good gift from God. Read the first couple of chapters of Genesis if you have doubts! We were created in God’s image, and our sexuality was part of the creation process. God affirmed all that was created as good, so it stands to reason that who we are as sexual beings is a part of that goodness. No gift comes without responsibility attached. This retreat is about helping youth understand the gift, grow closer to The Giver, and learn to use their gift of sexuality in a responsible, life-giving way.
Research tells us that at least half of youth are sexually active by the time they graduate from high school. They are bombarded with messages that suggest casual sex is the norm. Even as they are told the facts about AIDs and other Sexually Transmitted Infections, the media continues to reflect a society that participates in sexual expression as a recreational activity rather than the intimate, spiritual experience we Christians understand it to be. Many youth are dealing with STIs, pregnancy, abortion, and are trying to understand what “normal” is as it relates to their sexuality. All of these factors point to the need for meaningful, open discussion on the topic. The perspective that youth receive in many settings may not be balanced, and it is time for the church to take their role in this vital area of life seriously. What better place to explore one’s sexuality than within the context of the one who created it!
This retreat is designed to be a frank, open and honest exploration into the gift of sexuality with a team of trained and mature adult leaders. With thoughtful and prayerful preparation, and with guidance from the United Methodist Book of Discipline, all participants and leaders will grow in their faith and their understanding of this significant gift. They will also grow in their relationship with one another. This is a key element of the design, and one that will enhance both the experience, and future opportunities to talk openly with youth about their questions and concerns.
I should also note here that this retreat is not just about talking sexuality. Camp Glisson is a beautiful retreat facility and the students will have just as much fun and bonding experiences as they do on every other Simpsonwood Youth trip. My continuing prayer is that God blesses our staff and leaders so that we may help these youth accept this precious gift and the responsibility for use of this gift.
If you have any questions regarding the retreat, please do not hesitate to contact me at the church office and arrange a time for further discussion.
Thanks and God bless!
Director of Student Ministries
Simpsonwood United Methodist Church