Archive 2008 - 2019

Congregational Church Youth Group Visits NYC

by Karen Maki

HOLLISTON – On April 5th and 6th, nine members of the First Congregational Church's Senior High Youth Fellowship enjoyed a weekend of fun, discovery and worship at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City.

The group participated in Night Watch, a program that helps youth explore the Christian tradition through games, music, and celebration of the Eucharist.

"We had an awesome time at Night Watch," said Kimberlee Klevanosky, a youth group member and sophomore at Holliston High School.  "The best part was the candlelight service at midnight. We all had a role to play, whether it was acting as a deacon or singing with the musicians. It was an amazing experience, and the church was just beautiful, especially lit up by candlelight."

Klevanosky noted that the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine is the largest gothic cathedral in the world.  She and the other members of the First Congregational Church's youth group worshipped and lodged in the historic cathedral, along with nearly 100 teens from different churches across Massachusetts.

"Sleeping on a gym floor with a hundred teenagers isn't something you do every day", laughed Matt Varrell, one of the chaperones for the First Congregational Church's youth group. Varrell's 14-year-old son, Nick, was among the Night Watch participants.

"The teens learned about the cathedral's history, including its role in acclimating newly arrived immigrants to America in the early 1900's, as well as its current outreach ministries," said Varrell. "More importantly, they gained a new perspective on the Christian faith in an inner-city environment, including how they can serve others. That's really what it's all about."

On Saturday, the teens had a chance to tour the cathedral, which features seven different chapels. Each chapel offers worship services in a different language, as a way of ministering to New York City's diverse population.

In addition to touring the cathedral, the First Congregational Church's youth fellowship had a few hours to sightsee in the Big Apple. They took a ride on the Staten Island ferry and did some window-shopping before boarding the bus back home.

"It was a lot of fun," said Klevanosky. "Holliston is really nice, but it's great to see what else is out there!"

Trip participants included: Emilee Gagnon, Katie Juhl, Kimberlee Klevanosky, Katie MacArthur, Nicole Mannello, Lauren Paul, Andy Ryan, Katie Ryan, and Nick Varrell.