UCC Hosts Youth Bible and Mission Conference

The Upper Columbia Conference youth department held their first annual UCC Youth Bible and Mission Conference. Youth groups from Pendleton, Pasco, Richland, Kennewick, Othello and College Place Village churches all joined together for this one-day event to connect high school-age teens. Throughout the day, youth were provided a place to worship, to be spiritually challenged and to participate in service projects.

Richie Brower, UCC associate director of youth and young adult ministries, shared, “We encouraged them to join the mission of the church as we work to serve one more — both on the day of the conference and as they return to their churches.”

Stephen Farr, Pendleton and Pilot Rock district pastor and main speaker of the event, shared three messages: to believe, belong and become. These three messages focused on who God has created us to be, which was the theme of the conference.

The service project for the event was held at Pasco Riverview Community Outreach Center and a local senior care facility. At the food bank location, hundreds of families come each week to pick up food. While there, the 75 young people were tasked to re-package beans. That afternoon they helped package 2,700 pounds of beans, helping to feed 900 families.

“It was a breath of fresh air. I saw the young people really enjoying themselves,” explained Farr. “I want to see revival in our church, and that means spending time with young people. We want them back in church, so we need to be friends and mentor them, to cheer them on, to work side by side with them, to let them lead and support them and help them make it happen. I was so impacted by this event — the singing, the service and the time with these young people.”

Later in the evening, a shark tank-style event was held to hear how the youth felt they could make an impact. Two youth groups, Pendleton and Richland, made presentations to their peers and leaders. There was only one cash prize to be awarded. However, adults in the room were so moved by their proposals that another donation of $500 was made and both teams were awarded a prize.

“We had two goals for this event,” shared Brower. “First to begin creating space for our teens — especially those who may not be in an Adventist school to gather, interact and worship. Second, to start building a network of youth leaders around the conference who will partner with us to make conference youth events happen. I believe we are starting to accomplish these goals.”

To get involved and know about upcoming youth events and youth leader training, email Cheryl Wallace at cherylw@uccsda.org to be added to the NextGen Youth Leaders email list.

Featured in: May/June 2023