What is TFY?
TFY stands for Theological Foundations for Youth and it is a unique camp within the RPC that teaches and explains crucial Biblical doctrines that our denomination stands by, while also providing opportunity for young people aged 16-23 to have discussions based on the topics and have any questions they have answered. TFY enables a time of fellowship with more mature Christians as well as those your own age, alongside the potential to grow in your faith and understanding. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is curious about the beliefs of the RPC and who desire to grow more in knowledge and faith.
TFY began around midday on Monday 21st August at our Culleybackey congregation. I arrived with a handful of friends and after being assigned dorms, we had our lunch (yes, we weren’t just spiritually fed there!) which allowed for us to introduce ourselves to the other campers and to Johnny and Ruth McCollum, our leaders for the week. We then had our first lecture of the week. Each speaker gave 2 lectures consecutively, each lasting around 1 hour with a coffee and tea break in between, followed by a time of question and discussion afterwards. While each speaker had their own method of presentation, each provided us with application for their topic. I found this incredibly helpful as it challenged me not to just retain what I had learnt as head knowledge but to apply it and live out what I had learned. In total we had 12 lectures from 6 speakers: Rev. Johnny McCollum on the Kingship of Christ; Rev. Philip Moffett on the Doctrine of the Church; Rev. David Sutherland on Covenant Theology; Rev. Warren Peel on Worship; Rev. Raymond Blair on the History of the Covenanters; and Rev. Mark Loughridge on Worldview and Apologetics. The defence of exclusive Psalmody through the explanation and application of the Regulative Principle of Worship, a key distinction in our Church’s worship was a particular highlight for me alongside David’s explanation of the Covenant of Grace, an amazing blessing and promise from the Lord to his people. The opportunity to question and have fellowship with each speaker through the discussion time and the following meal was hugely beneficial and encouraging, enabling us to gain knowledge from older, wiser Christians and further our understanding of the topic.
Outside of lectures, we kept busy with many activities, with free time to have fun with other campers playing games like volleyball and going for walks (with a sneaky trip to Costa when the rain began!) and even taking a group visit to McDonald’s on the Thursday night. The emphasis of the week however undoubtedly was growing in Christ, with time being taken each morning to have our own personal devotions before coming together as a group for a corporate devotion. I found a time of personal devotion brilliant as it can be so easy to get carried away with the business of a camp and forget to take time for solely the Lord. We also were given the opportunity to serve the local community by visiting the Covenanter Flats and entertaining the residents there through the singing of Psalms, showcasing our gifts in music and dance, serving them tea and different desserts and having fellowship with them. In the evenings, we were given time to read and discuss the book “Devoted to God’s Church” by Sinclair Ferguson, a book that linked very well to the topics of the lectures and one that I’d highly recommend. After this, we had a time of worship and prayer before our supper and then a good night’s rest (after some fun of course!). I particularly loved the fact that even though the time designated for discussion ended, the edifying conversation did not and continued for even hours after.
To finish the week, we had a fantastic closing address by the Rev. Robert McCollum which re-emphasised the teaching of the week and spurred us to persevere in faith, bringing a fabulous week of fellowship, theology and encouragement which I simply can’t recommend more.
Jessica Gamble is 17 years old and is a member of Dromore Reformed Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland.