The fall retreat of the presbytery of the Alleghenies was held October 27-29 in the recently acquired 3400 5th avenue building of the college hill reformed Presbyterian church.  There were around 80 youth in attendance with some youth from at least two neighboring presbyteries.  The building, being one of the larger ones in the presbytery, housed the youth easily and had a kitchen adequate to feed them all.  On Saturday afternoon, youth walked anywhere from directly across the street to 8 blocks away to make use of shower facilities in the homes of many local families.

Obviously, with this many youth in one building, there was constant activity during free time, game time, and meal times.  New friendships began, old ones were strengthened, and there was a general environment of kindness and mutual respect.

Ed Blackwood, director of recruitment at the seminary, served as the speaker and led with three talks as well as the sermon for worship on Sunday.  His topic was calling, not the calling that most people refer to as leading one to a career, but the calling that we all have as Christians throughout our lifetimes.  His topics were:

  1.   Called to learn:  we are called to learn about God and his word continually.
  2.   Called to obey:  we are called to obey his laws and our parents.
  3.   Called to grow up:  we are called to grow in our faith and maturity.
  4. (The sermon) Called to confirm your calling:  we are called to verify the authenticity of our faith

The youth were very attentive to the speaker and counselors reported that discussion time showed their understanding as a result.  It was apparent that the Holy Spirit was working in our youth.

Many thanks to Ed for his preparation and delivery of the messages and to the counselors for their help with discussion and devotions times.  We hope that the time spent with godly youth was as much of an encouragement to them all as it was to us. Thank you to all who prayed for this event in the time leading up to it.

Will McChesney, Organiser