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The Altar: off without a hitch!

Posted by Anonymous Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This is part one of the upcoming blog parade. Brace yourselves!

The newest sacred space on the property of YouthFront Camp--the crucifix at San Damiano, in honor of St. Francis and dedicated at the Altar.

For the past six months, my job at YouthFront has been primarily focused on coordinating an annual event called the Altar. The Altar is a contemplative retreat for high school and college students.

This year’s Altar was especially unique and exciting. For the first time in years, we brought in a speaker and worship leader from outside of Kansas City. Ian Cron is an Anglican priest from Connecticut, just outside NYC, and the author of a beautiful book called “Chasing Francis.” Ian was a joy to work with, and taught us so well about St. Francis of Assisi, how he followed Jesus in his life, and how we can take after him. He discussed how Francis treated creation and how his greatest desire was to be a peacemaker. It was quite refreshing. On Sunday morning, Ian led us in the most beautiful communion liturgy. We didn’t only partake of the eucharist, but we preceded it by a celebratory liturgy that included a beautiful, and even triumphant, communion song. It was an incredibly unique worship experience that brought me to tears.

Jeff Johnson was our worship leader. He leads Celtic, liturgical worship, using either a digital piano or just his voice. He uses a lot of prayers of St. Francis and St. Patrick in the music, as well as scripture and other ancient, traditional words and liturgies. His wife Susan came with him and they were both a delight to spend the weekend with.

A handful of individuals joined us to lead breakout sessions about different topics relating to St. Francis. A big thanks to each one: Andy Woolard, Marc Wayne, Ethan Bryan, and Sally Rymer. Finally, Mike King and the YouthFront Staff were the ones who truly made it happen. I could go on forever about all the things each one of them did to make the weekend happen like clockwork.

As sweet and exciting as the weekend was, when it was all over, you better believe I took a huge sigh of relief. And certainly I said a prayer of thanks for it all coming together and for the Lord being honored in it. Until next year….