Seven and counting.. for the Amritsar Diocesan Youth Festival

29th May to 1st June 2011


Boys and girls from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir poured into the hills of Dalhousie on the afternoon of 29th May 2011 for the 7th Diocesan Youth Festival themed “Youth for Church”. The organizing committee helped break the ice and divided them into six groups of historical figures who had brought change to our nation and influenced hearts and minds of people. They were Rabindranath Tagore, Sarojini Naidu, Pandita Rama Bai, Sadhu Sunder Singh, Mother Teresa and William Carey groups. Later, the group leaders would be required to discuss and present the significance of these figures.

Each day began with intense physical exercise be it a 3 and half kilometer trek on the hill or a match of volley ball and throw ball. That blended well with a dose of spiritual exercise by Shanti Niketan Children’s Home team leading in praise and worship.

Ms. Esther Ghosh and Ms. Corrie Susan, resource persons from the Synodical Board of Social Services (SBSS), Delhi, conducted bible study and session on “Identity and self-worth”.  They highlighted the challenges that the youth face and enabled them to find themselves and realize their true identities as Christian youth. The groups presented a collage each of their identities as Christian youth. The motion of the debate competition that followed was “Church is not considerate for the Youth”.

 “Fear and Trust” was the theme for the next day. Ms. Ghosh and Ms. Susan led this day’s bible study and session from the life of Gideon. They encouraged the groups to present skits on the problems of youth in the church and the possible solutions.

The last day began the volley ball finals at 6 . After praise and worship Ms. Ghosh led the Bible Study on 1st Corinthians 12. Dr. Awale, Chief Coordinator, SBSS and Mr. Daniel B. Das, Coordinator Socio-Economic Development Programme, helped the youth to identify key issues and to plan for the future. “What is Church and the role of the youth in the Church” was the focus of all discussions. The participants were given a self addressed letter to write a promise which would be posted to them after six months to remind them of their commitment to themselves.

The congregation of St. John’s Church, Dalhousie, encouraged and worshiped with the youth in the dedication service. Bible studies, sessions and various activities bonded their relationship with each other and strengthened their faith in God. It helped them realize their commitment towards the church and ministry and they took an oath with stretched out hands to dedicate their identities to live according to the will of God.

The cultural night lit up with folk songs and dances from all three states within the Diocesan urisdiction. And boys and girls who had flocked into this gathering walked out as young men and women with a promise in their heart.