Cheatham UMC Youth “Customize” Communion
Youth from four East Texas towns recently gathered to share communion with chalices they created for their own Eucharist ceremonies.
To build new relationships with area youth, Cheatham Memorial UMC hosted a “Fired Up” youth rally late this summer. More than 40 students enjoyed great worship with an out-of-town ministry team, gaga ball, basketball, beach volleyball and massive numbers of hotdogs and cookies. According to Rev. Alan van Hooser, “Members of UMYF owned the planning for this rally and thereby chose the activities, created the art work and hand delivered flyers, sent invitations to all in their address books and social media, for starters. They also designed and created the chalices for serving Holy Communion, and wrote the Great Thanksgiving from their perspective.”
“This new tradition among the youth has become known as the Red Solo Cup Communion,” adds Alan, “and captured both the somber and the party elements of the sacrament. The liturgy was written from words shared around a table and collected for the service.” At the rally, Pastor Alan added a few traditional words but the primary leader was a youth member who explained the reason why we take communion and why we take it together.
Cheatham Memorial Youth Director Judi Yarbrough says, “The most significant part of the youth rally was the excitement that grew in the youth as they worked toward the Rally day. They planned and implemented the whole thing. They wanted more than just games. Students had experienced several of the spiritual activities at a healing service for the tornado victims at Van UMC back in June. Students wanted to include a prayer wall, a thankful cross and the sand writing for forgiveness as part of the rally. One of the many adult volunteers said, “The most meaningful part to me was having the young people serve me communion. It touched my heart.”
Bridging to the Community
According to Alan, three of the Edgewood students at the rally were first-time guests and since then all three have attended church worship. “Since the youth register for door prizes with their contact information, our youth sent follow up post cards to all of the young people who attended, thanking them for coming and inviting them to future events.”