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‘God is with Us in Every Season’

College and Young Adult Sunday worship resource focuses on transitions occurring in students’ lives

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

After preparing 100 blessing bags, students at North Carolina Central University, along with the Rev. British L. Hyrams, second from right in the back row, flash an Eagles sign to celebrate the NCCU mascot. (Photo by Presbyterian Campus Ministry at NCCU)

LOUISVILLE — “God Is with Us in Every Season,” a new resource from UKirk Collegiate Ministries, is now available for congregations to help them celebrate College & Young Adult Sunday in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Sunday, August 8.

Written by Jasmine K. Evans and the Rev. British L. Hyrams, who are campus ministers at historically Black colleges and universities in North Carolina, the resource includes:

  • Prayers and liturgy
  • Song selections
  • Sermon background and illustrations
  • A commissioning service
  • Ways to support college and young adults throughout the year.

“As many times as we can connect with the lives of young adults and show relevance, the better off we are as the church universal,” Hyrams said.

Serving at North Carolina Central University  in Durham, Hyrams was asked by UKirk to write the resource. She said she would if Evans would partner with her on the project.

Hyrams knew of Evans’ work as a pastoral intern at Faith Point Fellowship, where Evans serves students at Bennett College and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro.

Faith Point Fellowship, a ministry of St. James Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, is located in a neighborhood that has food insecurity.  As a result, students who are just up the street from the church could be experiencing the effects of living in a food desert.

“When we were in session, we’d always provide a hot meal,” Evans said, “because if they are coming off campus, they’re probably missing dinner.”

the Rev. British L. Hyrams

Hyrams, who became a campus minister six weeks before the pandemic started, realized the valuable perspective Evans would bring to the resource. Even though Evans is 20 years younger, she has been in campus ministry longer than Hyrams has.

“Being closer to the age of those we’re working with, I knew she could help in the area of song suggestions,” Hyrams said. “Plus, she was a sorority sister of mine [Delta Sigma Theta]. It was a labor of love unlike anything we’d done together.”

For the worship resource, the two focused on the transitions they saw happening in their students’ lives, both at the personal and communal level. As the resource came together, they realized how universal it was, because no matter how young or old one is, transitions keep on happening.

“It speaks directly to both young adults and to the church at large,” Hyrams said. “We worked hard at making it accessible for both cradle Presbyterians and those who haven’t been to church by not using too much churchy language.”

This was important to Evans because many of the students she serves either want to part ways with the church or don’t have a church background. The result can be they either get turned off by church language or they don’t know what the words mean.

Jasmine K. Evans

“My focus was on what it was like, not only as a leader of Faith Point Fellowship, but a product of it,” Evans said. “St. James became so relevant to me that I was able to feel called to ministry, so I wanted to make sure this resource was something our students, young adults and our churches could relate to.”

While this particular worship resource doesn’t speak specifically to justice issues around the PC(USA) Matthew 25 priorities of racism and poverty,  both Hyrams and Evans say it’s important for churches to be relevant on these issues, and to speak to what young adults care about.

“Many have experienced trauma, both financially and in their families,” Hyrams said. “So, they’re already swimming upstream.”

“I feel like churches could do a better job at seeing young adults — not for how they can be involved in ministry, but as someone we can minister to,” added Evans.

 “God is with Us in Every Season” is provided by UKirk Collegiate Ministries in partnership with the Office of Christian Formation in the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

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