From Friday, February 10th to Sunday, February 12th the Ottawa RP Church hosted the annual RP Winterlude Youth Weekend. 46 youth from 9 different congregations gathered together for the weekend to celebrate Winterlude 2023. This event saw youth coming from the local Ottawa, Russell, and Almonte congregations. And farther afield from Kitchener ON, New York State USA, and a group from the RP Mission Churches in Vancouver BC. With so many teens coming from all over we were able to meet and become friends with many people that otherwise we probably would never have met. It was an incredible time for learning, fun, and coming together in fellowship.

Many people from the Ottawa congregation generously opened their homes to provide lodging for us to stay in overnight, while some of us also stayed at the church. From the Almonte congregation, the speaker, Pastor Matt Dyck delivered three excellent talks on the topics of “Jesus as Your Awe”, “Jesus as Your Treasure”, and “Jesus as Your Identity”. The talks were very thought-provoking and relatable for everyone. 

Because of the unseasonably mild weather this winter, we were unable to go skating at the Rideau Canal as is the tradition. However, the leaders of the event  made alternate exciting plans. Instead, we went to Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s property, where there was a large skating rink and plenty of Winterlude activities. The leaders put together a giant scavenger hunt in which you had to take photos of various events happening around the property. You could gather points by taking photos of the things they had listed, from engraved monuments and statues, to hot chocolate and cookies to the various embassy tents scattered around. You got extra points if you participated or got creative with your photos. The Embassy tents all had fun cultural activities to try out, such as giant multi person skis and kick sledding etc.  It  was all great fun.   

Later that day when we returned to the church some of the activities included a fantastic Psalm sing (with a group of excellent singers) and an entertaining round of Kahoot, which was made even more amusing due to the fact that a few of the answers were incorrect. The weekend ended with morning worship on Sunday which was followed by a fellowship lunch for the congregation.

Thank you so much to all the amazing adults who volunteered this weekend, from cooking and organizing to helping with games, you really made such a fantastic, enjoyable weekend for all of us!! Hope to see everyone there next year.

This article was written by Anna Chan, a 16 year old who attends the Almonte – Hillside RP Church with her family.

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