April 15, 2005
Lutheran youth visit
The event brought together 260 middle school and high school youths, pastors and advisers.
The visitors were from churches in the the Upper Susquehanna, Lower Susquehanna, Allegheny and Metro D.C. Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
During this day of worship, fun and faith exploration, 30 Susquehanna students served as leaders.
The theme of this year's event was, "Lots to do: Keeping faith in a busy world."
Organized by senior Mark Valigorsky, deacon of service, the day included a series of small and large group activities, a worship service and a concert by musician Jonathan Rundman.
Many members of Susquehanna's religious life community took part in the day's activities. Intervarsity Christian Fellowship led singing during the large group sessions.
Acts 29 performed skits that related to the theme of the event.
The visitors were then given the opportunity to separate into small groups led by Susquehanna students.
Freshman Elizabeth Gaughan, who was a small group leader throughout the day, said that she felt this part of the day was more personalized.
Gaughan said that it was important for her to be able to share her faith with her group of eighth- grade students.
The students discussed how their faith in God has helped them through their problems, no matter how busy they are in life, Gaughan said.
"This one boy who was sort of the tough guy of the group came out at the end saying, 'Thank you, Liz, for teaching us so much today,'" Gaughan said.
The Rev. Mark Wm. Radecke, university chaplain, said more of the student body than ever before was involved in this years Lutheran Youth Day.
Radecke said it was a marvel for him to watch Valigorsky and the other students plan the event.
"Here are 18 to 22-year-olds who are doing this because they love it, because their faith is important to them."
Radecke said Lutheran Youth Day began as a workshop for 10th- and 11th-grade students.
When participation began to decline over the years, it expanded into a one-day program for students of all ages.
This year's Lutheran Youth Day had the second-highest level of attendance.
Valigorsky said that part of what made the day a success was the theme because it applied to all ages in some form or another.
Other highlights included Rundman's concert which was held in Stretansky Hall. Rundman took Lutheran hymns and added a more modern feel to the music Gaughan said.
Gaughan said that she really enjoyed the large groups too, because it was important to share worship time within such a large group of people.
"The most important thing is to have young-to-middle adolescents spending a day with college students for whom the faith is important, " Radecke said.
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