‘About to have the time of their lives’


Checking in with Triennium attendees during check-in

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Presbyterian Youth Triennium participants crowd into the registration area at Purdue University’s Stewart Hall Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by Rich Copley)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — A quick but random check revealed an obvious reason so many young people have journeyed to Presbyterian Youth Triennium being held this week at Purdue University: They want to meet people.

“It’s the number one thing they’re told,” says the Rev. Dr. Alan Brehm of Homestead Presbytery. “Many of the youth from Nebraska are here for the first time. They’re nervous. By the end of the week they’ll be able to tell you why that’s so important.”

When asked that question, Patrick Q., a high school sophomore from the Presbytery of the Northwest Coast, answered this way: “Because it’ll be interesting,” he said, “and exciting  worshiping with many, many, many other people.”

For those attending Triennium for the second time, like Yazenia G., Ariel V., and Kavya M. from Presbytery of Riverside, cementing new friendships is still a top reason for coming.  But they say keeping in touch with so many people who are here for the same reason is now of greater importance.

“Because they were all so very welcoming last time, when I came home people were surprised at how I was able to open up with them and communicate on a spiritual level,” Ariel said.

“And coming from home I can often feel isolated,” added Kavya. “But here you see what the future church looks like. Young, diverse and much more like the world.”

Zachary D. from Monmouth Presbytery checks in at Presbyterian Youth Triennium 2019. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Seth J., a high school junior, said he wasn’t planning on attending Triennium. But at the last minute his mother said he had to come.  Like others, the main thing Seth heard from adults in his life who have experienced Triennium is that it’s fun — and that attendees get to meet so many new people.

Yet he has his own hopes for the week.  “I hope the world is less violent,” he says.

Claire Wineman, a two-time Triennium attendee and first-time volunteer who was checking in attendees and distributing T-shirts Tuesday afternoon, could only smile as she worked.

“It’s great to know,” she said, “they’re about to have the time of their lives.”

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