(Photo: David Young, Presbyterian Youth Triennium 2013)
Over 5,000 attendees have flooded the campus of Indiana's Purdue University for an event held every three years by the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Churches (CPC, CPCA), which began Tuesday and will end Saturday.
Known as the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, the multiday event kicked up on Tuesday with the opening worship sermon being delivered by the Rev. Michelle Thomas-Bush. "We must boldly proclaim who Jesus is for us today," said Thomas-Bush of Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C.
"We Presbyterians are people of action and so we usually try to let our actions speak for us, but sometimes we must answer the question 'Who do you say that I am?' and boldly proclaim our answer."
The Youth Triennium is held at the Purdue campus in West Lafayette every three years. Nick Bonora, interim director for Purdue Conferences, told The Christian Post that Purdue always looks forward to the event. "The Presbyterian Youth Triennium is a spectacular event and gives us a tremendous opportunity to showcase the University and is a wonderful engagement opportunity," said Bonora.
"The energy this group brings to campus is infectious, and it makes the long hours of planning and facilitation worth it when we see the participants enjoying themselves, learning, and making new connections."
For this year, the theme for the Triennium is "I AM", deriving from the Exodus passage on Moses' encounter with God in the burning bush and Jesus' question given to his disciples at Caesarea Philippi from Matthew 16.
The Triennium is organized by PC(USA), CPC, and the CPCA and has been meeting at Purdue since the 1980s.
Scheduled to go from Tuesday until Saturday, the bulk of those attending are high school students ranging in age from incoming freshmen to graduated seniors. The scheduled events will include worship, small groups, information on charities like the Stop Hunger Now Project, college fairs, and recreational activities.
"We believe that young people are prime carriers of the hope Christians are called to possess and share. And we believe that the Triennium is the perfect place to generate substantial energy and action on behalf of Jesus Christ," reads the "event info" page of the Triennum's website in part.
"It is our goal to offer an experience that provides youth with the opportunity to explore their faith and their faith practices alongside those of the past and present faith communities."
The Rev. Dr. Neal D. Presa, moderator of the 220th PC(USA) General Assembly, gave remarks on the second day of the Triennium. "In your baptisms, your indelible identity has been given to you. You are daughters and sons of God. You are God's beloved ones," said Presa on Wednesday.
"It's not the number of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter followers and friends, it's not which college you go to or got accepted into, it's not what career you get into. God has told you who you are, that in life and in death, in body and in soul, you belong to God."