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Youth expected to be challenged, grow, at St. Catharines 2003


May 20, 2003

Winnipeg, Man.— As of May 15, 400 registrations had been processed for the youth assembly at St. Catharines, ON (July 9-13).

Challenging questions and spiritual nurture will be the focus at the youth assembly this summer, says organizer Anne Campion, youth ministry director for Mennonite Church Canada. Youth will be challenged with questions like “What if Saddam Hussein and George Bush were friends?”

Gareth Brandt is one of the keynote speakers. Brandt says, “I am a skeptic as well as a dreamer and I like to ask questions like, ‘What if guns and weapons had never been invented?’”

Brandt currently teaches at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, BC, where he also heads up the youth ministry program. He has studied at Steinbach Bible College, Brandon University, Tyndale Seminary, and University of Emmanuel College. He’s been on staff at Providence College and Swift Current Bible Institute, and filled the role of youth pastor and conference youth minister for Mennonite Church Alberta and the Northwest Mennonite Conference.

Kathy Giesbrecht spends her days as a Mennonite Church Canada staff person (Resource Centre) and has recently been ordained as youth pastor at Springstein Mennonite Church (Manitoba). She says, “Most of my life has been filled with youth ministry in one form or another.” Together with the youth, she will explore questions like “What if prayer was not our last resort?” and “What if love was always our bottom line?”

Rebecca Holst and Darren Kropf (both from Ontario) will lead worship on Friday afternoon. Holst is a third- year Theatre and English Major at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario. She is currently working at a four-month internship at Theatre & Company in Kitchener, with a special focus on stage management and education. “I have no idea what the future holds or where I will end up. But I am enjoying the adventure of following God's call for my life,” said Holst.

Darren Kropf describes himself as a “hard core basketball player” who will graduate from high school this year. Active at Tavistock Mennonite Church (Ontario), Kropf credits his faith community for encouraging him to become a pastor. He plans to attend the University of Waterloo in fall. When asked to help plan the youth event at St. Catharines, he says, “… I immediately said yes … I see this event as an amazing opportunity to strengthen everyone spiritually and bring us all closer to God. I've seen God move people in many ways, and the event hasn't even happened yet! I'm excited, thrilled, and just a tad bit overwhelmed with everything that will occur…”