Sarah Champlin, Minister of Youth, Young Adults, and Mission

 

Hello Kenilworth Union Church! I am so very pleased to be here. Though I’ve had only one official week in the office, this feels like the culmination of many months of planning and preparation. On your end, this has looked like a nine-month search for the right fit for this ministry. On my end, this has been a process of years of study and hands-on ministry work to prepare for you. I have been busy getting my Master of Divinity at Boston University, directing the youth program at a large church outside Philadelphia, and leading mission experiences with young people in both domestic and international settings.

Youth ministry is something I take very seriously and have ever since I was a youth myself growing up on the North Shore. Church was a vital place of refuge for me as a young person. When I struggled to navigate the halls of New Trier, my church was there. The church was a place that I felt known and held by the whole community, and free to express myself when I was figuring out who God is and who God was calling me to be.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how homey it feels at Kenilworth Union already in such a short time. I had the privilege of going on the IMPACT trip to Puerto Rico in June, where 81 amazing youth and adults pulled me into the fold of this incredible, Spirit-filled experience and said without hesitation, “Hi, we just met you, and you’re one of us now. Now get in our van.”

This past month, I’ve kept returning to this one verse of Psalm 139: “You hem me in, behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” This verse makes me picture Kenilworth Union Church as a quilt, and God as the grandmother in the rocking chair sewing my fabric patch into the pattern. My prayer in the coming months and years is that I may become a sewing needle in God’s hands, helping to stitch together the youth in this church so that they can experience the love of Christ in a spiritual home where they feel known, and held, and free. Thank you for having me.