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A reflection from Camden

This year I had the opportunity to go to Camden, NJ. I was nervous and excited to go. New place, new people but nevertheless excited to see how  God was working in this city. It’s hard to choose my FAVOURITE highlight but I think having Devotion every morning with the Urban Promise staff is something I look forward to every year. I am baffled each time with the commitment and love the staff have for these kids. Humility is something we often talked about. ” Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less” and that is exactly what the staff do. It takes humility to do the lame jobs or the jobs where you live in a city with broken people, a city with drug and violence and corruption issues. It takes humility to have JOY in those jobs. When I got home I looked up the difference in Joy and Happiness. “Happiness is an emotion where you experience feelings from contentment to bliss or temporary pleasure.Joy is a stronger, a less common feeling than happiness. Witnessing or achieving selflessness to the point of personal sacrifice frequently triggers this emotion. Being connected to God or to others in a great cause. ” I believe Joy and Love go hand in hand.I constantly saw Joy and Love in the staff members over the week, I constantly saw beauty in the broken, my heart was constantly over flowing with Joy, Faith, Hope and Love. But the best of these was Love.

1071206_280123548818234_1325744561_o Sarah is one of our core Sr. High students in our Uptown Toronto Youth Ministry.  She’s always got a smile on her face and is so full of joy.  Thankful for the ways she invests in other peoples lives. 

Updates from our compassion teams!

Camden Update:

Camden has been such a blast so far! We arrived at around 7pm Sunday night and had pizza for dinner and our first worship night as a team. Monday morning we were up bright and early to meet the other work teams and get some orientation from the urban promise leadership. After an intro to UP, we were given an interesting yet thought provoking and challenging tour of the city and its neighbourhoods, a mass grave of still born babies from a heroin and cocaine crisis in the mid eighties, UP’s Boat Works where kids learn how to build canoes and kayaks, and general information about the city and its history and demographics. The afternoon was spent preparing for Junior High Olympics and we closed with another evening of worship.

Tuesday we opened the day with a devotional led by the principal of Urban Promise Forward School, then work projects before lunch and the first day of Olympics – Spirit Day – consisting of team building challenges. Our evening was filled by a screening and discussion of The Sunset Limited.

Today, Wednesday, was begun with more work projects around campus before kicking off day two of Olympics – Mental Day – featuring fear factor style challenges. We are now preparing for Youth Night (similar to The Underground).

We look forward to Physical Day of  Olympics and meeting up with the Wilmington team tomorrow before wrapping up Olympics and a trip into Philadelphia and the journey home.

 

Wilmington Update:

We’ve had such an awesome week so far!  We’ve been serving with the kids at camp freedom and doing various projects around the city and the camp.  Here’s a little glimpse of what we’ve been up too!

IMG_1937 Here’s Alison and MIchael scrubbing the grease off the doors of camp freedom on tuesday morning

IMG_7046Here’s Alison and Rahman doing after school program homework

IMG_2002 Matt Wells getting beat at a game of pickup basketball!

 

IMG_7756 Our team having lunch in the park yesterday.  NO SNOW HERE 🙂

 

March Break Compassion Trip!

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We’ve raised money, planned the details, packed our bags and now the day is here to head down to Urban Promise for a life changing week of serving others.   Our grade 9/10 students head to Wilmington Deleware and our grade 11/12 students head to Camden New Jersey.  The mission of Urban Promise USA  has been to equip children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, spiritual growth, and leadership. They strive to fulfill this mission through after-school programs, summer camps, schools, experiential learning, job training, and a host of other programs that challenge youth to develop and realize their potential.  The neighbourhoods in which Urban Promise find themselves are economically struggling and the kids don’t have access to many resources to better their future, this is where Urban Promise fills the gap.  Our teams will be doing a variety of different jobs around the city as well as building relationships with children at the march break day camps.  

Ways you can pray:

– amazing attitudes of selfless service for God
– the children we will be working with
– that God uses this experience to grow our students spiritually
– that we get many opportunities to love people in the neighbourhoods we are serving
– unity in our teams
– safety

We have limited wifi but we are going to do our best to do more updates from both trips this week!  Check back!

SPRING RETREAT: INVITE: You have a place at the table

forwebINVITEOne of the most exciting things we do every April is pack our bags, join our friends, jump on a bus and head up to Muskoka Woods!  Its an amazing experience as we join together from across all our 14 sites as one big family.  Over 500 students and leaders pack the place, it’ll send chills down your spin!  Our next Spring Retreat is coming up quickly April 11-13th.  Our theme is INVITED: You have a place at the table.  You won’t want to miss this!  Get registered as quickly as possible to get the early bird pricing. 

 

Register at WWW.THEMEETINGHOUSE.COM/YOUTHRETREAT

 

 

Parents Night – February 21st

parentsnight

At The Meeting House we believe parents are the most significant spiritual influencers in the lives of their kids.   Parents have the responsibility to shape the direction their kids take with their lives and the choices they make spiritually.    Over the next number of months we will be continuing to provide quality resources for parents that help you be the best parent you can be for your kids. Stay Tuned!

On friday February 21st, 2014 we are partnering with the Today’s Teens conference that is being held at The Meeting House Oakville site.  We have author, speaker and family ministries pastor Mark Devries with us to share on how to leverage your influence as a parent.   You won’t want to miss this amazing night!  You can get tickets at the door or at www.todaysteens.ca.

 

IGNITE CONCERT – DEC 11, 7pm

We are so pumped to host an amazing event on December 11th called IGNITE.  It’s a concert with amazing music and some inspiring speakers geared to challenge youth to join the movement to end child exploitation.   Hear football great Pinball Clemons and Michel Chikwanine a former child soldier from Uganda – Music by NEVEREST and RACHAEL BAWN!

This is a free invite so bring out all your friends and promote it in your school!

Join the Facebook event group! Invite your friends!

 

Ignite Concert

Pointing to God – Ep01

Pointing to GOD – Oct midweek teaching

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There are some questions that are so big that you can’t avoid no matter what you believe.

There are big questions that get to the core of who we are like “is God real?” and “What is truth?”.  We will journey together during this series to help us be able to articulate and understand our faith in a deeper way.  We have Bruxy and Nathan Betts doing short video teaching at each of these weeks as we dive into these important topics. Don’t miss one of our midweek gatherings throughout the month of October! 

 

 

Fall Retreat – WIRED – NOV 1-3

WIRED

One of the most exciting, important and transformational things we do here at theUNDERGROUND is host 2 retreats per year.  Its at these retreats that our sense of community strengthens, our passion for Jesus grows and we make incredible memories.   This fall NOV 1-3rd we will be hosting 3 separate regional retreats.  Make sure you sign up early as prices go up after OCT 13th. 

Camp Crossroads: Oakville
Camp Mini-Yo-We: East and West Hamilton, Brantford, Kitchener, Waterloo, Burlington
Camp Medeba: Toronto, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Ottawa, and Parry Sound

Join the Jr. and Sr. Highs for our regional FALL RETREAT!!!  At this retreat you can expect to…

  • chill with new friends and old ones too
  • relax and get away from the routines of life at home
  • experience music that is OUTSTANDING!!!
  • be challenged to hear God‘s voice
  • engage in outrageous wide games
  • enjoy tons of activities each camp has to offer
  • connect more with your awesome youth leaders
  • participate in specialized gathering times for Jr. Highs and Sr. Highs separately
Retreat Cost:
  • $125 until October 13
  • $140 after October 13
The last day to register is Sunday, October 27
 

the UNDERGROUND IS BACK!!

GET READY because theUNDERGROUND is back the first week of september for our welcome back parties.   Check the list below for your midweek date of launch!

Welcome back party launch

September 3 
East Hamilton
West Hamilton (Brantford)
Burlington

September 4
Oakville
Parry Sound
Ottawa
Brampton

September 11
Kitchener/Waterloo
Toronto

Newmarket and Richmond Hill midweek startup TBA

 

Teaching:

September midweek – FOLLOW

theUNDERGROUND is kicking off the year with a bang! We’re starting off with a fun “welcome back” night, followed by two weeks where we’ll look at what it means for us to follow Jesus and to invite others to join us in that epic journey! We’ll wrap up with a “serve fair” – allowing you the opportunity to learn about, and sign-up to serve in different ministry areas around the church!

 

September Jr. High Sundays – Dave’s World 3: The Big Ten

Dave’s been busy creating another epic sequel to the wildly popular Dave’s World youtube franchise.   This time he takes on the big 10, the 10 Commandments and learns what it means to live out the Bible in our modern world.  Laugh, cry and learn this fall with theUNDEGROUND sunday mornings. 

 

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