The buzz of conversation and laughter immediately fills your ears as you walk into the front doors of Manhattan Senior Service center, where weekly church services for Manhattan RPC are held and now, the Midwest CY retreat. Around 90 people squeeze into the senior center, with almost 80 youth and the CY sponsors Craig and Shana Milroy and Will and Lindsay Mann. It is Saturday morning, and hot breakfast is being served right before the first lecture. The speakers for the weekend are Sam and Meg Spear, who are members at the North Hills congregation in Pittsburgh.

The topic for the spring retreat weekend was “Biblical Sexuality in Marriage”: a topic that, Sam and Meg remarked, is usually a taboo topic of conversation for young people in the church.

The Spears did an incredible job of addressing the topic with balance, insight, and sensitivity. They spoke on the biblical framework for marriage, in contrast to how the culture views marriage. They spoke on the practical parts of intimacy and oneness, pointing towards Christ and the marriage of the Lamb. In their second lecture, their talk not only addressed the multi-faceted parts of a marriage relationship, but also spoke on “working on who you are to be”: pursuing sanctification in your own life.

For the final lecture, the youth broke up into two groups: a boys’ group and a girls’ group. Meg talked to the girls about the gifts and privileges of marriage and sex, beauty and body image, along with respecting your husband, yourself, and others. Sam spoke to the boys about encouraging and loving their wives well and the importance of purity in their thought lives.

The spring retreat was short: it began Saturday morning and ended with a fellowship lunch on Sunday afternoon, yet it was still a beautiful time of fellowship, worship, and teaching with other like-minded youth. CY retreats are always a refreshing time of community with other youth from all over the Midwest Presbytery. One youth participant described it to me as a “family reunion”. The Midwest CY youth retreats are events that many youth look forward to as a time of fellowship, encouragement, and growth.

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

1 Timothy 4:12