Our Whole Lives (O.W.L.) High School Retreat

This past weekend 9 high school students stayed overnight together at ECLC. We were all given the unique opportunity to engage with ideas of intimacy, relationships, sex, gender, sexualization, identity, bodies, and the theology behind them.  Throughout the retreat we were challenged by each other to live into the “very good(ness)” of how we were created. In between our experiences around our key topics we played cards, went up twice for Communion (ask Rev. Kelly Chatman), threw markers at each other, played with play dough, and ate a ton of amazing food. We asked hard questions about what sin actually is. We discovered how entrenched the Eucharist is in the topic of sexuality. We talked about contraception as an all gendered concern and pushed up against harmful myths. We talked about pleasure and how pleasure is a good gift from God. We were propelled into the sin of sexualization in our society - how women and sexual minorities are marginalized. We opened up our narrow view of what intimacy can be and how to look within through mindfulness in order to reflect on intimacy in our lives. We heard stories of identity, abuse, homophobia, and healing. And finally, we reflected on our weekend experience and asked, “How shall we live differently?”

I must thank some very special people:

Providing meals - Dave Eckenrode, Mary Wilkens, Ruth & Phil Edstrom, Cheryl Persigehl & Jonathan Flak, and Sara Mize.

Supporters and logistics help - Gretchen Lieving, Pastor Stephanie Coltvet Erdmann, Pastor Erik Strand, Kristian Clauser,  Kelly Rowley and Isaac Harris.

Program- Hannah Glusenkamp, Rev. Cathy Ann, Grace Corbin, Emily Campbell, and Annie Dierberger.

But most of all I must thank Mary Wilkens and Sara Mize for giving up their weekend to spend it with our High-School youth. Please thank them when you see them at church!

-       JD Mechelke, ECLC High School Youth Minister