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First Church Urges D.C. Youth to “Stand Up”

By Taashi Rowe

Some 300 youth were urged to “Stand Up, Stand Out” at the First church of Washington, D.C.’s, youth fest. The event drew visiting youth from around the metropolitan area and the neighborhood. It included two evening seminars and a daylong service on Sabbath. “This event was to uplift our young people and help them understand who they are in Christ,” explained Sharie Barnes, the church’s Youth Ministries director. “We also wanted to remind them to hold onto their principles as they headed back to school.”

The event featured speaker Eric Thomas, founder of Break the Cycle, an organization focused on helping youth end dating violence. Thomas highlighted the importance of being in the world, but not of the world.

After the divine service on Sabbath, the youth enjoyed a rap session with Thomas, distributing evangelistic literature in the neighborhood, a praise concert with local artists and a back-to-school bash.

“This is a springboard for bigger and better things,” said Mark McCleary, the church’s pastor. “We believe in ministering to youth. Youthfest is just another rendition of what we do regularly—support the youth in assuming and fulfilling the vision, mission and objectives of First church.”