Over 60 young adults braved the January cold for the fourth annual Young Adult Winter Retreat in southern Ontario.
Organized by and for Christian Reformed young adults in Ontario, the first event in 2013 drew about 15 people. Attendance has grown every year since. Participants came from as far as Kingston in the east and Chatham in the west to gather at Maranatha CRC in Woodstock, Ont. “It’s [an] event that seems to be meeting an important need,” said Phil Nywening, a member of the planning team.
The theme this year was “Grounded: Faith, Scripture, Doctrine.” Steve Kooy, campus pastor at Queen’s University in Kingston, and worship leaders Ben Voskamp and Colin Wouda led participants through periods of meditation, small group discussions, and times of learning and worship. “It was incredible and an awesome place to grow closer to God. I think everyone left feeling encouraged and like they belong,” responded one participant in a survey after the event.
Fun and service are always a significant part of the weekend as well. The group helped clean Bullwinkle’s, a local community eatery and culinary teaching program administered by Operation Sharing. They held improv storytelling and a giant high speed card game. “It was great to reconnect with old friends and make new friends,” said another participant. “I left the weekend feeling refreshed and equipped.”
Nywening said that by gathering and connecting young adults, the event helps “tackle issues relevant to young adults and our role in church and society.”