Cheatham UMC Youth “Customize” Communion

Date Posted: 8/27/2015

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. 

Cost was not an obstacle for this special rally.  The worship team worked for a love offering, and individuals and Cheatham’s UM Men donated food -- and many donated time.  Volunteers helped complete the volleyball pit, gaga pit and the prayer wall for the Rally and subsequent use by youth in the future.
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.”
The Rally included about 20 adult volunteers from Van UMC, Grand Saline FUMC, Celebration Church in Buffalo Texas, and other Edgewood Texas churches, one visitor traveled all the way from Austin. “One of the goals was to include local churches, especially other United Methodist churches,” add Alan, “and seems we have started something now because the youth director from Grand Saline FUMC announced that they would like to do the next one in September.” 
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.”