An iconic part of the PA Christian Endeavor summer for decades, this gathering of Christian youth from throughout the state of Pennsylvania has been a hallmark of a good summer for many. Established on the principle that the youth of our society play a vital role in God’s Kingdom and the Church, SA focuses on discipleship and leadership training of young people. This has looked different over the years with numbers ranging from the hundreds, to as small as 50 and accommodations including PA colleges and summer camp facilities. While locations, youth, leadership, and styles of worship have changed, one fact remains the same. SA is committed to sharing God’s word through preaching and Bible study.
As with everything else in the country, the “look” of SA 2020 was unprecedented. While meeting in an overnight, week-long format was impractical and unwise, the committee desired to maintain the same level of Biblical teaching for the week. To that end, our speaker, Christopher DiVietro, Senior Pastor at Park Church Presbyterian in Reading, PA, and Summer Assembly alum, led our youth through nightly evening sessions via pre-recorded sessions made available on YouTube through the technical prowess of Matt Ross. The theme was tied into the year 2020. “20/20: What’s Your Vision?” Evening sessions focused on six of the “I AM” statements of Jesus so we might “see” Him more clearly.
In addition, Scott Pollock, youth pastor at Marsh Creek Church, former SA speaker and SA alum, wrote morning devotions on the theme. These were distributed through youth leaders to their youth and leadership. Churches were encouraged to gather together for “watch parties” at whatever level of participation they felt comfortable. Many gathered in homes while some met in churches.
While no one would say it felt like the usual SA experience, under the inspiration and leadership of a team of M&Ms (Mentors and Motivators), groups were also invited to join together two evenings to enjoy fellowship between church groups. On Monday night students gathered at Windsor Baptist Church for a “fan favorite” – ‘pink and blue’, followed by a viewing of the evening session and snack. On Thursday night, students gathered at Marsh Creek Church for some crazy games on the lawn, ice cream sandwiches, a viewing of the evening session, and follow-up discussion. A hearty thank you to both churches who were willing to open their facilities as well as the youth who volunteered to provide this next level of SA fellowship. Thank you Lydia, Rebekah, Meredith, Amaya, and Peter! Thank you also for those who donated funds/time so that this could be offered as a free ministry this summer.
Plans are not quite underway for next summer, but we are trusting that our world situation will be a bit more stable allowing us to meet together for a week in July at Refreshing Mountain Camp, Stevens, PA.