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CLAY 2018: Thunder Bay

Day Three: Bishops, Mixers, Ministry Projects, and Two LGGS

Day Three Recap: Friday, August 19

After Late Night Spots and Late Night Worship on Thursday night, Friday morning may have come a little too soon for participants! But with all of the activities happening on Friday, there was no time to be sleepy.

The day started with a new twist on morning devotions: Morning Mash-Ups with ELCIC and ACC bishops. On Friday, half of the home teams were paired with bishops, while the other half did a Bible study on campus in their home team groups.

For the first part of Morning Mash-Ups, the bishops were in the hot seat, as youth and home team leaders asked them questions about their lives, faith journeys, and work in the church. Oh, and the most important question: “Do you always move diagonally?” For the second half of the activity, participants told the bishops all their hopes for (and frustrations with) the church and the world and their own faith questions.

The theme for LGG #2 was Challenges to Creation.

After the opening songs, Buddhist monks from the GEBIS Little Sands Monastery visited the Large Group Gathering with a donation of one thousand homemade bread rolls for all CLAY participants. Dozens of youth and leaders visited the monastery during Friday’s Servant Event to learn about Buddhism and make bread rolls for people going hungry in Charlottetown. Six months ago, the monks realized that there was a need for food in the community, so they decided to work with local churches and charities to distribute bread rolls. So far, they’ve given away over 15,000. After presenting youth with the rolls, the monks shared a chant for compassion with us. In return, hundreds of participants joined in a refrain of the “Ubi Caritas”. This was the first interfaith collaboration in CLYG/CLAY history (as far as we know). It was a powerful and meaningful experience for everyone involved.

After the monks left, the Man of Green Fables shared an alternate version of John 3:14-17 – a story of how one eagle defied the rules of the food chain and made friends with a lowly mouse. He showed his family that even the lowest family in the forest was just as important as its rulers. The message that different groups must love and accept each other in order to save a corrupt system carried through to the keynote address on “Creation: Not For Sale”.

After the keynote address, the drama troupe read a Mi’kmaq creation story about a people’s search for clean water, followed by an introduction to the Right to Water National Youth Project. The NYP is an initiative that happens alongside the CLAY Gathering. The current NYP focuses on limited access to clean water in Indigenous communities across Canada. We are working with community partners in Pikangikum to install water and wastewater systems in homes. So far, a total of fourteen homes have been retrofitted.

CLAY participants learned more about Right To Water during the after-lunch home team mixer activity organized by PWRDF. Home teams combined to do water-related activities and learn about how difficult it can be to live without running water.

Ministry Projects continued on Friday with Part 2A of Learn It. After learning all about their chosen issues, participants worked with facilitators to create a component that could be shared with everyone else at CLAY.

Large Group Gathering #3, Human Beings Not For Sale, started immediately after dinner. The subject matter of this LGG was often difficult to talk about, but the production team brought it to life with powerful grace. The drama performance about the mean voices that can pop up inside your head connected with Thursday’s discussion about finding your voice that speaks the truth to others. We need to mind voices that speak the truth, not the ones that tell you to give up.

After the keynote address, the drama troupe presented a powerful collaborative choreographed performance with the ending message: “Don’t be ashamed of your story – it will inspire others. Our Creator will love me and my broken soul for all time.”

The theme verse was Romans 8:18-27, but the Man of Green Fables referred to it as the Gathering of the Logs! He told a story about a beaver who was trying to gather logs to create a dam across a powerful river, but he couldn’t do it on his own. He needed help from others, just as “the Spirit helps us in our weakness”.

In LGG #2, we were introduced to a couple that received a beautiful, perfect house for free. They say not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but this time it was the gift receivers who caused the problem. The agent asked them to keep it nice, but the video ended with a party just beginning. In LGG #3, a new couple toured the house. This time, it had a busted heating system, limited sources of clean drinking water, damaged furniture, and a slab of asphalt for a backyard – but it was still free!

“It’s a lot of work, but with the right people this house could be beautiful again,” the agent said. “And call me if you need anything.”

Sound familiar?

As participants exited the LGG on their way to Late Night Spots and Home Team Time, NPC members and volunteers distributed buns from the monastery as an evening snack.