Support our siblings affected by disaster, hunger and oppression through One Great Hour of Sharing.

A magic birthday brings one Triennium attendee back a fourth time


Allie Parker says Triennium always occurs when she needs God the most

by Mari Graham Evans | Presbyterian News Service

Allie Parker

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — Among the thousands of youth gather for their first Presbyterian Youth Triennium, being held this week at Purdue University, Allie Parker is attending for the fourth time.

A 2018 graduate of Butler University with a double major in anthropology and arts administration, Parker, whose hometown is the home for Triennium — West Lafayette, Indiana — says she has a “magic birthday.”

“I was that perfect age when [I attended] my first Triennium as an incoming freshman, then as an incoming senior.”

Parker describes her initial Triennium experience as “insane—in all the good ways.”

“My first experience was so great and so much what I needed at that moment … that how could it not help me again? And so that was why I went back again (in 2013).”

At the 2016 Presbyterian Youth Triennium, Parker came back as a member of the Work Crew and has returned this year as an Adult Advisor.

“While I have attended so many Trienniums, each one come exactly when I needed God the most. As a teenager and now as a young adult, the changes that I have faced in my life in the last nine years have been drastic, as with any young adult! I have found that God uses Triennium in my life to show me how to refocus and trust in the changes he is working on in my life,” Parker wrote in an email.

She said she hopes that participants at this year’s event are able to come away from the experience being similarly impacted. “I hope they come away with kind of a mentality … or a mantra that they can take with their lives. For me personally, it was that …  you were made for such a time as this — that purpose to take out into the world after leaving.”

Each Triennium has a different theme that guides participants through the five days of the gathering. This year’s theme is “Here’s My Heart,” which, according to the Triennium website, invites “young people and their adult leaders to come experience God’s love in a way so powerful and compelling that they, too, are moved to say, ‘Here’s my heart.’”

For Parker, “Here’s my heart” is the “power and strength and vulnerability — whether that is directly to God and taking that with you to somebody else in a new relationship. It’s being vulnerable [enough] to listen and to show a person’s heart in the mirror of God’s heart.”

At an event largely focused on youth, adults attending also have much to gain from the younger attendees.

“I think one thing that is important for adults to realize is that teenagers always act with the intention that they are doing something right — for them in their life or for somebody else. And they always act on what they think is true.”

There are also lessons abundant for the church at a large: “Teenagers can go deeper than what a lot of the structured programs do … Teenagers have the capability to go deeper and to find more meaning because that’s what they need, rather than another lesson  — and they can figure it out for themselves if they are asked the proper questions.”

Make sure to follow PYT on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be up to date on all of the Triennium excitement. The official event hashtag is #PYT2019.

Presbyterian Youth Triennium is a gathering for high school age youth from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church that occurs every three years. The 2019 event runs through July 20 at Purdue University. The theme for the 2019 event is “Here’s My Heart.” The Presbyterian Youth Triennium is supported by your gifts to the Pentecost Offering.

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.