‘Ohana is an idea in Hawaiian culture. The word ʻOhana means family in the Hawaiian language, but in a much wider sense, to include not only one’s closer relatives, but also one’s cousins, in-laws, friends and neighbors. The idea is also that family and friends are bound together and everyone must work together, never forgetting each other. There are parallels to our Judeo-Christian concept of being and living in covenant with one another.
The concept of family in its broadest sense, that we are all God’s beloved children, is the foundation of our youth ministry at FCC. The idea that we have more in common than that which separates us. When we begin with this fundamental understanding of connectedness in love, we are then shaped and molded in new and amazing ways, and we begin to bear fruit, as individuals, as youth groups, as a community of faith. Ultimately, our faith is then expressed not only one to another, but also in community and global outreach.
‘Ohana is not just an important concept for our neighbors in Hawaii and our many UCC congregations in Hawaii. In fact, there are Hawaiian organizations today dedicated to the goal of extending this concept to the larger context of the US as a whole. Hawaii and the Hawaiian culture are an integral part of our cultural diversity and interconnection – a very unique and cherished part and benefit of the great and expanding interwoven cultures that embody the United States of America today.
Connectedness is so important for all of us, and especially vital during the years of adolescence and growing into adulthood. FCC ‘Ohana Youth Groups provide an open space for sharing without being judged, for seeking an understanding of faith without being ostracized, for making friends on a deeper level than sometimes happens in our other circles of life.
‘Ohana Youth Group activities are often centered around service. We intentionally plan several immersive experiences each year that are transformative and life giving for our youth. Some of those opportunities have included:
- Peace Village
- Summer Fun Days
- Sierra Service Project
- Progressive Youth Ministry Conference
- Central Pacific Conference Annual Gathering & Youth Assembly
- United Church of Christ Regional and National Youth Events
- High School Retreat at the Oregon Coast
- Middle School Lock-in
- PeaceJam at the University of Oregon
- Intergenerational Life Café
- Faith Exploration Program
- Creation Justice Events: Recycling, Litter Cleanups, Trail Maintenance, Invasive Species Removal, SOLVE Adopt-a River Program, Glass Bar Island & Turtle Flats Restoration Project
- Parenting and Adolescence Workshops and Speaker Events
- Camp Adams Youth Summer Camps & All Church Camp
This is what it means to be the church together… to be ‘Ohana as we seek God’s calling for us. We invite you to come, bring your friends and discover a community of belonging, one where you can and will make a difference in our community and in the world… a safe and nurturing space in which you will find connection, transformation and identity.
It is clear that the opportunities FCC is providing for youth are making a difference in young lives. These connections are absolutely vital to our youth and we are so grateful for a congregation that continues to support our work! It has been our experience that through the gift of our time and talents to the youth of our church, we are in turn blessed many times over!
Please contact Youth Minister Mark Lindberg to let us know that you would like to take part in some aspect of our youth ministry.
Opportunities abound… what is your passion? What ideas would you bring to the table? Plutarch once said, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” How might you share your passion with our youth and kindle the fire within? Maybe you have a special interest or hobby that you could share? Perhaps a career path that might be interesting to our youth? Maybe you just enjoy being around young people and could be available to assist with youth groups occasionally? Or even sign up for a service project like SSP? There are smaller roles as well, such as bringing a snack for our youth group meetings or participating in some aspect of coordinating service projects. If you have an interest, let’s talk and start envisioning together!
Further highlights of our youth ministries:
Spencer Butte Hike, Cottage Grove Lake Fellowship, Beach Clean-up, Ukuleles, Pumpkin Farm, Halloween Party, Escape Room, United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Interfaith Dialogue, United Nations Association for Climate & Oceans (UNACO) Youth Council, College & Young Adult Seekers Program, Summer Fun Days at First Place Family Center, Elkins-Nelson Scholarship Grants, UCC General Synod Youth Meetings, ZZP with SSP (Sierra Service Project Monthly Zooms), FCC Dinner & Vespers, Graduate gift bags / celebration, Mother’s Day Celebration at Camp Putt Mini Golf & Pizza, July 4th Youth Worship, FLOAT meetings (Family Life Outreach & Advocacy Team), Little Food Pantry Project, Willamette Pass Ski Day, Racial Justice Forums, Tend the Flock initiatives, Interfaith Earthkeepers…