Refuge 2016 held twice to provide more space for more youth

A group of youth prepare to go zip-lining at Refuge 2016.

A group of youth prepare to go zip-lining at Refuge 2016.

Over 600 sixth- through ninth-graders and their leaders from 37 different churches attended Refuge 2016, an event designed by the Arkansas Conference Council on Youth Ministries and held each November at Shepherd of the Ozarks in Harriet, Arkansas.

“We experienced phenomenal growth this year,” said the Rev. Jay Clark of Pulaski Heights UMC Little Rock, one of the adult task force leaders. “In 2012 we had 270 students and adults, and last year we had 389. We made the decision to try two weekends and pray that people would come—and they did.”

“It was really amazing and the task force did a great job at planning and leading the whole event,” said Lily Jones, a Pulaski Heights UMC member and chair of the Refuge task force. “To make the switch to two weekends and for both weekends to be evenly split and almost at capacity… I can see Refuge being three weekends at some point in time.”

T4:12, the youth worship band of Greenbrier UMC, led music at this year’s Refuge. PHOTOS BY ACCYM MEDIA TASK FORCE

T4:12, the youth worship band of Greenbrier UMC, led music at this year’s Refuge.
PHOTOS BY ACCYM MEDIA TASK FORCE

This year’s theme was “Breathe”; the Rev. Rob Holifield, associate pastor of First UMC Texarkana, served as the speaker, and the youth praise band from Greenbrier UMC, T4:12, led worship music.

Refuge always has a focus on getting away and reconnecting to God through worship and the outdoors. It is also a great way to introduce sixth-graders to Conference youth events. Mark your calendars now for Nov. 3-5 and 10-12, 2017, and choose a weekend to attend.