From February 11-13, 2022, the Lutheran Church of Koltushi hosted a youth retreat—“Seeking Wisdom.” Its discussions centered around the Book of Ecclesiastes. The retreat gathered participants from St. Petersburg (including suburban Lomonosov and Pushkin) and Leningrad Oblast (Vyborg, Koltushi, Priozersk, Toksovo, Steklyanny) as well as Moscow and Petrozavodsk, Karelia. The young people met with old friends and made new ones.
The three days included Bible studies on the Book of Ecclesiastes facilitated by Rev. Hutter, Bishop Emeritus Kugappi, Rev. Krylov, Deacon Tsvetkov, and Deacon Kargaltsev who parsed the text and offered insights the young people were unfamiliar with. Other activities included a Jeopardy! type of game with tricky questions to check the knowledge of Ecclesiastes and other topics, a game of alternative life choices to analyze the possible consequences of the choices we make, games of physical skill, and dance time using teamwork skills! On the 3rd day, the group visited the ELCIR Theological Institute located nearby for the final Bible study and a debate in two teams, trying to use the Book of Ecclesiastes to prove that all is in vain or, conversely, that there is cause for joy in this life. The meeting concluded with a youth worship service which was attended by the retreat participants and local church members. The service was followed by a tea party.
Thanks be to God for such a meeting and for the organizers of this excellent program where everyone was involved and no one felt excluded! Thank you for the warm welcome, the delicious meals, and the heartfelt conversations! Such events are important for developing a sense of togetherness in young people as they reflect on God’s Word and participate in the common cause together! We’ll be looking forward to more meetings!
Information courtesy of Alyona Shonina, Lutheran Congregation of Petrozavodsk, Karelia.
Photo credit: Veronika Pogasiy, Theological Institute student, Lutheran Congregation of Kazan, Tatarstan.