Put more than 50 Grade 6-8 youth in one Presbyterian church, add 30 rolls of duct tape, 20 dedicated leaders and some cool craft supplies. Spend the next 11 hours participating in community-building recreation, meaningful worship, amazing “in our own city” mission projects and just plain fun. The result? One Day Wonder — a junior youth event organized by youth leaders within the Presbytery of London and held in February.
Spurred on by the experience at Canada Youth 2006 and the knowledge that the wider church offers little for pre-highschool youth, the youth and young adult committee within presbytery began planning a one-day event.
Chalmers, London, agreed to host the conference. More than a dozen churches within the presbytery supplied leadership, supplies or meals in order to make the event a success. Our theme was Psalm 8 — a Psalm that sings of how amazing our Creator is and of how we are miraculously called to be partners with God in creation. The day included holy motion and community building as well as recreational workshops like road hockey, duct tape wallet making, beading, line dancing, and board games.
Mid-way through the day, all of our youth boarded buses to engage in meaningful mission projects throughout the city. We put together boxes of food at the food bank, cleaned a local shelter and made treats and crafts for children. Our day culminated with worship in the sanctuary of Chalmers, led by Scott McAllister and Reuben St. Louis.
One Day wonder was a day for new friendships. It was a day of clergy and lay people working together in youth ministry. It was a day of adults and senior youth mentoring preteens in the faith. It was a day filled with exuberance and energy. It was a day where we took our role as partners in creation seriously — engaging in mission and ensuring we did not create any unnecessary garbage or waste. It was a day when rural and city churches were equal partners. It was a day of worship, of retreat, of fun and silliness. It was one day of wonder.