After all the pandemic ‘pivoting’ (YouTube, twitch and zoom, back yard bible studies, porch pods and phone call networks, parish hall and tent meetings) we now gather every week on a Sunday night! While the youth group event runs from 6.30-8.30pm, folks can arrive early at 6pm to hang out and enjoy pizza.
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.”
‘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’).
‘Two youth groups, one Evening.’ Unlike the pre-pandemic pattern of Fridays and Sundays, we now enjoy the rhythm of two parallel groups meeting in different rooms around Church of the Ascension (4729 Ellsworth Ave).
We will still be welcoming everyone in the Ellsworth parking lot as in the past, with early birds arriving for pizza from 6-6.30pm, but Grades 6-8 will enjoy theirs in the ‘new catacombs’ while Grades 9-12 will enjoy theirs in the ‘old catacombs’. From that point on they will be moving through different spaces at Ascension until they finally join (like the Allegheny and Mon’) to an Ohio-chorus of song in the ‘old catacombs’ worship room to finish. Then all leave again through the Ellsworth parking lot at 8.30pm.
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…
And this picture below is NOT a metaphor for my working relationship with the volunteer team… just a reflection that pandemics are bad times for big group photos…