What a joy it has been to connect with one another this year, as we lean into our emphasis on environmental justice and continue dreaming about the way forward for our youth ministries and our congregation! At the heart

of it all is LOVE. We know that God calls us to love fiercely, to love our Creator with all of our hearts, souls and minds… and to love our neighbor as ourselves. On Valentine’s Day Weekend, we were able to highlight love and joy through the connections we share with one another. Middle school and high school youth

gathered outside to compete for the coveted “Love Gnome” trophy, participating in games and activities structured around the theme of loving one another. We had a fabulous turnout with nearly 30 FCC youth participating in the festivities. Thank you for supporting youth participation with rides and encouragement… and all of the giftyou bring to this space!

In most recent weeks, we are finally back in our “home” in the upstairs youth room and it feels so good! We have opened up dialogue around where we hear God’s Spirit calling us in these times. We are reminded that we are always held in God’s love and embrace, that we were created to be love in the world and that we can always rest in this knowledge of our belovedness. As we plan for upcoming trips, camps, service opportunities and activities, we do so with this knowledge resting firmly in our hearts and on our minds… and with an eagerness to share the good news with those around us. We are now able to focus on plans for our upcoming recycling project on Saturday, April 23rd and our Creation Justice Worship on Sunday, April 24th. In addition, plans are underway for Parenting and Adolescent Forums on Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1st, respectively. Topics we hope to include are “Hope and Resilience in Overwhelming Times”, “Internal and External Assets of a Healthy Adolescence”, and “Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Learning to Chart One’s Own Path” (stay tuned for more upcoming information on these important community events). We are also in the pre-planning stages for our Sierra Service Project trip to Smith River, California, July 24-29. We have 5 spots remaining for middle school and high school youth on this trip, so please contact Mark soon if you or your young adult are interested in learning more. It is going to be a fantastic and transformational week together and we hope you can join us! Check out sierraserviceproject.org to learn more.

We know that some of our traditional activities will look different this year. In addition, there will be things that we need to let go in order to
make room for the new things that God is doing. We think this is an exciting time filled with opportunity – a time that invites our creative
outreach to those on the periphery of our community especially. A big part of the successes we experience together are simply due to our
youth “showing up”. We are so blessed at FCC to have young adults that continue to do just that, staying with us throughout the last two
years of Zooms and outdoor meetings, and clearly demonstrating how important these connections are for all of us! ’Ohana Youth Ministries
would not exist without your support through your time, talent and resources. Please know that our gratitude for your generosity runs
deeply; our thanks and appreciation go out to each one of you. In this time of shift and change, the ministries we offer are vital to the health and spiritual well-being of all of us in our church family. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

A couple of final notes: two of our ’Ohana young adults are currently serving on FCC’s Green Team. All youth are welcome to join this team as we envision new ways to minimize our carbon footprint at FCC and seek to become a Creation Justice Church. Our next meeting is Wednesday, March 16 on Zoom, from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Won’t you come and join us? We want to hear your voice! Please contact Mark for the Zoom link.

Do you know of a middle school or high school young adult that might benefit from connecting with ’Ohana Youth Ministries? Please reach out to our Youth Minister, Mark Lindberg. We are always looking to widen the circle of God’s love and there is plenty of room in God’s Tent! We look forward to welcoming you!

Peace be with you. Mark Lindberg, Youth Minister (markl@fcceugene.org)

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” ~ R evelation 21:1 (NRSV)