Hemel Hempstead Global Youth Day
23rd March 2018
Grounded in the concluding words of Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan, "Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:25-37), the theme of the Global Youth Day was 'Be the sermon'.
This year, the focus being on 'Food & Drink', the young people at Hemel Hempstead Seventh-day Adventist church got up early on the morning of Sabbath 17 March and walked around the cold and snowy streets in the vicinity of the church building to be and to preach their Food Sermon. Going from door to door they spoke with residents in the community, offering them home-made cupcakes and inviting them to a 'community tea and cakes' event scheduled for the following week. About 100 home-made cupcakes and 150 invites designed by one of the young people, Anna Sanders, were given out.
Many of the doors which the youth knocked on revealed elderly people and the group was very favourably received by them. Knocking on the doors in this way also unveiled a number of needs in the local vicinity ranging from befriending the elderly and providing friendship to doing jobs such as their gardening. Accordingly, the follow-up community tea and cakes is only one of the youth's future community-centred plans.
To cement the theme for the day, Anna Radosh, of Newbold church then delivered a moving sermon entitled 'When words are not enough'. Utilising the example of the TV detective, Columbo, who used his humble ways to ask questions and investigate, Anna shared a personal experience concerning when a member of her church held her in her arms for almost half an hour, while she, Anna, approached the throne of God enthralled and moved to tears by a worship song. The lady asked no questions; she was just there for her at a time when words were not enough. Anna stressed the importance of being like Jesus in the way that we reach out and comfort others and show we care.
She concluded with the following powerful poem from Martin Niemöller:
'First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out ‒ Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out ‒ Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out ‒ Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me ‒ and there was no one left to speak for me.'
In reaching out to the residents in their local community on Global Youth Day 2018 with their home-made cupcakes and the follow-up invitation to tea and cakes, Hemel Hempstead's youth showed that they agree wholeheartedly that sometimes words are not enough and that we must stand up and be counted. Their cake making and subsequent distribution to residents in the snow and cold was their very own Food Sermon designed to show their community that they are speaking up and that they care.
[Communications Dept, Hemel Hempstead Adventist Church]