The Mid-America Union and the Lake Union Youth Ministries Departments partnered together to create a no-judgment space to host a conversation for our communities and cities for youth and teens: a safe space and time to process, heal, pray and share. Attendees gathered virtually to ask questions, share ideas and encourage teens.

We had a good start in dealing with some of the anger and disbelief many are experiencing. Teens along with parents, young adults, and youth leaders participated.  We heard from parents who felt helpless and not sure how to answer their children’s request to participate in protesting and joining in with the clean-up efforts.  Their main concern was safety. We also heard from youth/ teens who were scared and not sure what to do.

Mr. Garry Graham, the mental health therapist who joined, shared encouraging remarks. One thing he said that stood out to me was, “We need to help our youth feel empowered about what they are witnessing.”  We will be working with the youth directors, pastors and youth leaders to continue the conversation to help our youth/teens and their families deal with the events playing out before their eyes.

Thank you to conference youth directors Pastor Shelina Bonjour – Minnesota; Pastor Karsten Rogers – Central States; Dr. Abraham Henry – Lake Region; and  Pastor Chad Bernard – Michigan.  Other who added to the conversation were Pastor Ron Whitehead – Lake Union youth director; Pastor Vandeon Griffin – North American Division associate youth director; and Pastor Gary Thurber – Mid-America Union president.

Pastor Roger Wade is Church Ministries director for the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.