Since the senior years of high school, I've been able to get to know the English youth of our church better, whether they be older or younger than I. This is because almost every week I can meet up with them to have fellowship, something I am very grateful to God for.
For the first three Fridays of each month, as well as the fifth if there is one, any young person of high school age and above is welcome to come to West Ryde Hall and join us. English Youth Fellowship (EYF) starts at 7:30pm and runs to around 9:30pm. During the course of a normal evening, there are times of singing and praising the Lord, bible study with a group of similar aged people, and the bonus of a delicious supper provided the group in charge remembers! Every once in a while we have special nights, such as Missionary Night to coincide with the Missionary Convention each year, evangelistic nights to encourage people to bring their friends to Christ, games nights just to socialise and have fun, and much more. Every alternate year we have a youth camp over a weekend in the winter break.
You may be wondering what happens in the fourth week of each month when there is no EYF. As of this year, this Friday is set apart for youth of uni age and above to have fellowship with one another. As a proportion of the bible study leaders of EYF are in this group, sometimes they miss out on having regular fellowship and studies with their own peers. This once-a-month gathering allows us to mix socially as well as to look at topics relevant to living as a Christian in our age bracket. This year, events have included such activities as a "campfire night" in West Ryde Hall complete with scented tealights, an outing to a cafe in Parramatta, a night of discussion about boy-girl relationships and a sharing by out interim pastor Reverend Mike Dennis about his life and experiences.
As a participant in both EYF and uni/worker nights, I've really enjoyed having such a time of fellowship each week, and I always look forward to the weekend because of it, especially after a week of uni where most of my friends are non-Christians. But not only is it a relaxing and fun time, EYF has played a prominent part in my Christian growth over the last few years. Even though I was born into a Christian family that is involved in church ministry, I found that through EYF I could explore for myself my faith, my belief in Christ's love for me and the power of salvation through his death and resurrection. This not only through good bible studies taught by dedicated older leaders in my high school years, but also through co-leading with a sister in Christ for the last two years.
And I have found much encouragement in my relationships with brothers and sisters of the fellowship, whether by watching them grow in faith, or by following their examples as they follow Christ, or by their concern for me. God has blessed me with friends at this church who are supportive and loving, and not afraid to rebuke me according to God's word to help me in my challenge to be more like Christ. So I pray that God allows me to return this love to them, and that as I continue to participate in EYF I can extend this to the youth under our care.