On Sunday evenings in early fall, if you drove past the Cathedral around 8:00 p.m. you might have seen a group of teenagers, illuminated by light amidst the shadows, praying.
In the midst of a worldwide health crisis, this spiritual balm was welcomed and embraced by members of the Cathedral Youth Group, casually referred to as CYG, as they strengthened their bonds through ongoing communication and activity.
The Cathedral Youth Group is comprised of approximately 12 teenagers and 4 young adult leaders, and the group is spearheaded by the Cathedral’s Director of Christian Formation, Kurt Schmidt. Some of the teens’ families are regular members of the congregation, some attend Sunday services at different churches, and some are at the beginning of their formation journey, but all have found a spiritual home in the youth group.
CYG met occasionally throughout the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic using Zoom to connect the young people and the group leaders. As restrictions were loosened by New Brunswick’s Public Health officials during the summer and early autumn, CYG was able to meet frequently for gatherings on the Cathedral green. This return to in-person gatherings was a bright spot for the youth, providing them with much needed personal connection. The activities provided an outlet to share their feelings, an opportunity to continue their spiritual growth, and a source of fun. The teenagers played outdoor games, held physically distanced song circles, and made occasional (truthfully, fairly regular) trips to the nearby Queen Street Creamery ice cream truck.
September brought an evening of apple-picking at Everett Family Orchard. A Saturday in October at Camp Medley connected the group with other young people from across the Diocese of Fredericton. "Bubbles" of youth groups rotated stations, engaging in activities to explore what it means to be "in-between" -- in-between the start and end of a pandemic, and in-between Jesus' victory on the cross and the final celebrations of that victory. Lots of laughter was had during a beautiful day of fellowship and friendly competition.
CYG gathered for a virtual "watch" party for the 2020 edition of the Change Conference, in which speakers encouraged youth that God is good even when times are hard. The group also celebrated the Confirmations of two regular CYG members -- Rachel and Adriana -- in October.
The CYG crew continues to grow together in its knowledge of scripture, its experience of unusual games, and especially its abilities as a musical worship team. Subject to pandemic regulations at the time, you will be able to hear the group sing as a physically distanced music group for the Mini Advent Lessons and Carols on December 18th in the Cathedral. Reserve a spot to attend on the Cathedral Signups page or tune in to the live-stream.
Youth Group had resumed regular weekly gatherings inside Memorial Hall (wearing masks), but due to rising COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick, they have temporarily reverted to virtual gatherings.
Please continue to keep CYG in your prayers as they grow in their faith, and learn to adapt to the many challenges of life during the pandemic.