Faith is an important aspect of the YMCA. Many delegates on The Mountain hold religion high in their lives.

Music at Worship 2 by Abbie

Delegates sing “My God is an Awesome God.” PHOTO by Abbie Skladan, NC

A Sunday worship service led off the 2018 Conference on National Affairs. Although optional, many delegates choose to attend and support the speakers from their home states. Missouri’s Maggie Hannick shared an opening testimony for the Call to Worship. Her lighthearted yet thought provoking testimony set the perfect mood for the service. Alex Giampino (Model United Nations); Bayli Moran (Florida), Adeleke Goring (Kentucky), Jacob Grant (Kentucky) and Annalyn St. Ledger (New Jersey) played ukulele and sang “Our God is an Awesome God.” Every delegate in the room sat in awe of the talented group; delegates could feel the love radiating off of the audience as they began to sing along with the group.

Addison Smith by Abbie

Alabama’s Addison Smith delivers a reading during the service. PHOTO by Abbie Skladan, NC

Samantha Condrick (Pennsylvania), Kasey Roberts (Pennsylvania), and Addison Smith (Alabama) separately gave their devotionals; some talked about love and acceptance and others discussed their takes on Bible verses. During the separate devotionals, every delegate in the room was tuned in; all attention was on the speaker. After Addison completed his testimony, another group of singers sang another hymn about God’s beauty and grace.

Later, Aayush Dave (Texas) gave a testimony about looking beyond individual beliefs and recognizing that we each have something significant to contribute to this experience: “No matter who you are or what background you come from, we can find something beautiful in every person, experience, and place we go.” Following his inspiring speech, Aayush offered up time for sharing. Sam Lowry (Michigan) reminded the audience to “be grateful for both the good times and hard times,” by having faith. Jackson Cromer (Kentucky) spoke of using faith as a guiding light in times of struggle, specifically in his own experiences with mental health. He gave a piece of advice that he had received from his pastor back home: “Real peace is not saying my life is okay, it’s recognizing that you might be in a terrible place, but in the end, He’s got this.” Sharif Long (Texas) delivered an inspiring closing statement to the service.

By Caroline Bell, NC