Tag Archives: Brent Camilleri

Jr. High Bash – Practicing His Presence

by Jen Hunsberger, Children/Jr. High Director, Blooming Glen Mennonite Church

The annual Jr. High Late Night Bash took place at Dock Mennonite Academy on Friday, March 15, and the house was packed with 190 youth/adults from 15 churches, near and far. The evening was full of games, recreation, music, food, and spiritual encouragement. The night started out with each of us checking out what activities we wanted to try and which friends we wanted to pal around with. We were soon gathered on the main gym bleachers to get an introduction to the night and our first big group game. The game leaders from Spruce Lake showed us what we should do and all of us got onto the gym floor whether we were ready or not! Soon balls were flying and kids were scattered in all directions.

After a few big group games, we filled Dock’s theater for the worship time. It started out with brave volunteers, youth and sponsors, that played minute-to-win-it type games directed by Kyle Rodgers from Franconia Mennonite Church, with the crowd cheering for their favorite competitor. Believe it or not, there may or may not have been some cheating from a certain competitive male youth leader named Mike from Bally (but of course cheaters never prosper and Jess McQuade, Souderton Mennonite Church Jr. High Director, came away with the win!) We then warmly welcomed Brent Camilleri from Deep Run East Mennonite Church to the stage with his band and some lively worship music. The music resonated well with the youth and they were lifting their voices and clapping their hands in time, or not so much, to the music. It was life-giving to say the least.

Next to take the stage was speaker Todd Pearage. He offered a humorous, real-life, you can’t make this stuff up, story that captivated the audience and had us gasping and laughing out loud. He then shared some of his life story and how God works through him to be a “good youth leader” to those he leads. He encouraged us to “Practice His Presence” according to Psalms 139. God knows us, He knows our thoughts, He knows our hearts, He know our ways! Do we act and speak like God is standing next to us all the time? We concluded our worship time with more singing and encouragement to get to know someone new during the night, and to keep our eye out for those that look like they may need a friend and invite them to play!

All participants had the next chunk of time to pick a game of our choice. The inflatable Gaga Pit, 9 square-in-the-air, soccer, basketball, walleyball, dodgeball, Spike ball, giant Dutch Blitz, Nerf games and the inflatable bubble soccer balls were all buzzing with excitement and competition. Midway through the night the smell of pizza filled the building and the snack area was the place to be! There were also table games taking place as snacks were being inhaled by these growing middle schoolers. After we were fueled, we were ready for round two of games and more sweat. All in all, it was a night of action, relationship-building, worshiping our Creator and being encouraged to take part in being a free-spirited youth, if only for a few hours!

Journeying In Faith

By Steve Kriss, Executive Minister, and Mary Nitzsche, Associate Executive Minister

Brent, Danilo and Mike

As Conference Youth Minister John Stoltzfus completed six years in that role with Franconia Conference in July, he stated, “As a conference we need to continue to ask the question of how we are passing on the faith and work of the church to the next generation. How are we doing as a church in modeling a self-giving faith centered in Jesus Christ? We will need to place our trust and hope in a revealing God who has been faithful for many generations. We trust that the same Spirit that is at work in our lives will continue to live and move in our children and the next generation of the gathered body of Christ.”

The reality of congregational and conference youth ministry is changing. Conference has been aware of this. Two years ago the Board invited a taskforce to review how conference equips youth ministers, leaders and the youth. John was a part of this process. The task force results and recommendations should be available in the next months.

In August, John and his wife Paula relocated to Harrisonburg, VA where Paula began a pastoral role at Park View Mennonite Church.  Before leaving, John helped to develop an interim plan for continuing Conference youth ministry. Recognizing that youth ministry requires the work of many, three youth pastors have volunteered to serve in the following roles for the next school year: Brent Camilleri, associate pastor of Deep Run East, is assuming leadership for facilitating the ongoing monthly youth pastor gathering; Mike Ford, pastor of youth at Blooming Glen Mennonite Church, is coordinating the Spring Junior High Late Night Blast; Danilo Sanchez, associate pastor of Whitehall and co-pastor of Ripple, will continue to serve on Mennonite Church USA Youth Ministry Council and be a liaison to the denomination.

Conference is grateful for the willingness and readiness of Danilo, Mike and Brent, who bring long histories of service and leadership in our Conference to carry extra responsibilities over the next months ensuring our youth and their leaders continue to be supported and equipped. This interim arrangement gives Conference time to continue the review process and discernment before making any long-term decisions regarding Conference youth ministry.  We value your prayers for continued discernment in next steps as we together imagine Conference-wide youth ministry into the future that is rooted in our shared Anabaptist values and carries out our shared priorities of (trans)formation that is both missional and intercultural in the way of Christ’s peace.

Seeking and finding God’s unfailing love

Brent Camilleri
bcamilleri@deepruneast.org

seeking_love.jpgI was blessed to grow up in a Christian home with parents who loved the Lord and tried to honor Christ in all that they did. As I grew up they continually encouraged my faith, answered questions I had about being a Christian, and made it clear that I was a child who was loved and cared for by God. My father especially encouraged me to not only say that I was a Christian but also live out my faith through words and actions.

In high school I had a teacher who worked part time with a local youth ministry. He was enthusiastic about his faith and a great mentor to my friends and I. He was the first person to speak to me about my leadership gifts and the possibility of going into ministry. Later in high school my youth pastor, Chris, invited me to do an internship with him because he also saw me as a leader. With Chris’ help I truly started to live out my faith. He encouraged and challenged me to seek after God.

Through that relationship I learned a great deal about youth ministry and, for the first time, felt God calling me to pursue it as a career. My youth pastor affirmed that call and I decided to study youth ministry at Eastern University. There I was able to explore the call to ministry through both study and an internship. I developed strong relationships with my professors and fellow students and was further affirmed in my call to ministry.

After college I served as the youth pastor intern at Deep Run East congregation. Through this time I was able to learn more about myself as a ministering person. I have learned that I am a relational person, I am at my best when I can develop relationships with others and minister out of those relationships.

I have also found that I enjoy teaching and discovering ways to relate scriptural truth through relevant or contemporary illustrations. There is no greater feeling than working with a group of students and seeing them begin to “get” what this whole faith thing is about. Visioning for ministry is also something that excites me and I enjoy finding new and interesting ways to help others live out their faith.

There are certainly many things that I have had to learn as I seek to live out the call that God has placed on my life. Delegation is not a skill that comes naturally to me. I feel it is easier for me to take care of everything myself. However, I’ve quickly discovered shouldering every responsibility is an impossible task and that good administration also means good delegation.

As I continue to grow in my leadership abilities and explore my call, I have found that having a strong group of trusted friends and mentors is a key to my ministry. There is so much to be learned from the experiences of others and I feel my ministry is cultivated through these relationships. I have a group of friends from college that holds me accountable and helps me to remember how fun it is to serve the Lord!

I also meet regularly with a pastoral mentor who has already been through all the things I am now experiencing in my ministry. It is helpful to have someone who can point out where I might be able to improve and who can also keep me from making the mistakes they made in their own ministry. As I continue to learn what it means to be in ministry I am constantly amazed by the unfailing love of God. No matter what stresses I have faced and hiccups I have encountered along the way, God has been faithful to lift me up and keep me going. I look forward to the many new ways I will meet God in the coming years as I follow His calling on my life.