Yukon Island Youth Retreat
In summer 2019, our young people took part in the Yukon Island Youth Retreat. Your support and prayers guided and blessed them in spirit during the annual pilgrimage to this special island. While we have been unable to visit Yukon Island for the past few years due to the pandemic, we hope to return to this tradition soon.
Within many beautiful moments and shared experiences, the youth demonstrated unique gifts and their emerging leadership as members of St. Mary’s faith community. They took turns leading worship, including Morning Prayer and evening Compline. They built sacred spaces, including the creation of their own forms of beach art, and the thoughtful construction of a labyrinth on the beach. We were all able to enter the labyrinth as a prayerful space and to see the world in new ways.
The culmination of their spiritual retreat took place as they constructed a Sanctuary and an Altar, reminding us all that the Liturgy of the Word could be heard by the work of their hands and within the earth. In fact, they used the Altar to celebrate Eucharist.
Rev. Catherine Amy, who led the retreat, spoke from the Gospel passage in which Jesus says, “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit…” She thanked the youth for coming to the island and sharing their gifts as well as reminded them that they have been called.
In each of these moments, the youth revered and enhanced the sacredness of the experiences. Sometimes they enabled solitude and reflection. Other times they encouraged engagement and affirmation. But in all moments, the youth demonstrated their leadership in beautiful and powerful ways.
So many people made this retreat possible, and we couldn’t thank them enough. Of course, there was Rev. Catherine Amy as well as the chaperones, Rev. Michael, Chaplain Shirley Banks, and Cassidy Burke. In addition, yet again, Gretchen Bersch and her sister, Melissa, gave us so much to be grateful for. They opened their home, prepared us meals, shared the history of Yukon Island, and enabled everyone to have savor their time on this pilgrimage.
Thank you all for participating – either by coming with us or praying for us. We look forward to bearing witness to the impacts this trip will have had on St. Mary’s in the days and months that follow.