When Allegheny County was on the Coronavirus pandemic ‘red phase’ we live-streamed a 30-minute edition of CAYG from our YouTube channel at 7pm every Sunday evening. We then followed this with 40-minute small group discussions via zoom.
Then, after Allegheny County opened back up in the ‘green phase’, we started small groups across the city for back yard Bible studies. We then spent the fall enjoying new COVID-resistant and rain-proof Porch Pod small groups in Highland Park and Morningside. In the depths of winter we focused on warming our hearts through encouraging each other by a network of phone calls – ‘CAYG underground’, and now, starting in Lent, we will enjoy a six-week series in-person, in the Parish Hall, looking at Jesus’ ‘I AM’ statements in John’s Gospel.
Our vision continues to be: “a Christ-centered, open-hearted Youth Group dedicated to fostering faithful disciples through worship, service and the teaching of Biblical truth.”
Oh, and ‘CAYG’ is short for Church of the Ascension’s Youth Group, but given we have friends participating from many other churches and communities, many just say ‘CAYG’ (pronounced ‘cage’).
IN YE OLDE TIMES CAYG LOOKED LIKE THIS…
CAYG Middle School. Fridays (with snacks) from 6:30-8:30pm at Church of the Ascension (4729 Ellsworth Ave). Enter via the back steps around the side of church (park near the dumpsters – classy!).
CAYG High School. Sundays from 6:00-8:30pm, also at Church of the Ascension. Snacks upon arrival and pizza is served during ‘life groups’.
Each youth group is served by a wonderful team of clearance-approved volunteers from Church of the Ascension and from our partner Churches, overseen by Alex Banfield Hicks (Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministries).
Regular youth group events combine sung worship, up-front teaching and discussion, small group ‘share and prayer’ times plus various friendship-building activities. Just as I want my own three kids to grow through middle and high school with a core group of encouraging friends, with whom they can process their questions, laugh, cry and learn to pray together, I am keen to share Ascension’s space, resources and team with families across Pittsburgh who have similar aims.
We always welcome friends and guests, and new faces are toasted by the leader who personally takes a shot of hot sauce. That moment in the evening never fails to excite interest…