Greetings friends,

With the recent surge in Covid cases across Lane County, ’Ohana Youth Groups have moved back outside and continue to lean into the outdoors by embracing outdoor adventure in God’s beautiful creation. During January, middle school and high school youth groups met for a hike up Mount Baldy, with circle time for sharing and connection at the top; and, on a no-school-day-Friday, we had several show up for a

skiing and snowboarding day at Willamette Pass. What a joy it was to be together on the slopes on a beautiful bluebird day! Last Sunday, we held youth groups at University Park and soaked up the rays of sun. We are finding that these points of connection are vital in the lives of our youth right now, indeed for all of us. What better way to connect with Spirit, than to be amidst the towering fir trees, in the snow, along the waters, at the park… together… as we breathe in Spirit and seek to connect with one another in love.

’Ohana Youth have also been busy promoting the sock drive, launching the new FCC Green Team, and strate- gizing on new environmental justice initiatives. We look forward to recycling projects, tree planting, exploring solar energy, and other ways of reducing our carbon footprint at FCC, as we seek to become a Creation Justice Church.

We have begun to turn an eye towards Summer 2022, as we are in the planning stages for Summer Fun Camp and our Sierra Service Project (SSP) trip to Smith River, California, July 24-29. Please contact Youth Minister Mark Lindberg if you or your youth are interested in participating in these summer programs: markl@fcceugene.org. The $60 registration deposit for SSP is due now and spaces are limited, so please be sure to send in your deposit or make arrangements with Mark, ASAP!

We have been reflecting on our vision, covenant and hopes for 2022. We’ve spent time considering theologian Richard Rohr’s theme of “Nothing Stands Alone.” Rohr asks us to consider the Latin roots of the word “universe.” The word “versus” comes from the past participle of the Latin “vertere”, which means “to turn”. The word “unus” means one. The universe turns around the One; nothing stands alone, but stands together. In ’Ohana Youth Groups, this concept of interrelatedness captures our themes for 2022 – the understanding of our interconnectedness with all of God’s creation, with all of God’s people – our claim as the UCC “That They May All be One” (John 17:21), and our decision to measure our success this year in terms of how well we have loved.

Now is the time to STAND TOGETHER! If you have been looking in from the sidelines lately, we invite you to consider that maybe this is the time to join us for youth groups. All are welcome to be a part of the love that sustains and nurtures us, in a safe and open environment. Middle school youth group meets on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and high school youth group meets from 4 to 5 p.m., also on Sundays. Both groups are convening outside with KN95 or

N95 masks on, as we continue to follow all Covid protocols in an effort to protect the most vulnerable in our midst. Also, be on the lookout for special events, both combined youth groups as well as intergenerational, as we continue to find opportunities to be in the outdoors together, seeking

balance, wholeness and centeredness in our lives. What a blessing it continues to be to serve one another and to share Christ’s Love with all those whose lives we touch. May it be so! In Peace with Love – Mark Lindberg, Youth Minister