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CMU Hosts Youth Ministry Conference June 2012

May 29, 2012  – Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) welcomes participants to campus June 1-2 for the “Youth Ministry as School of Love” Conference, featuring guest speakers and course instructors Mark Yaconelli and Michael Hryniuk.  

Mark Yaconelli is a writer, speaker, retreat leader, spiritual director, community activist, youth worker, storyteller, disco dancer, husband, and father. He is the program director for the Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont School of Theology and the co-founder of Triptykos, a public action program of the CEC that heals broken people and communities through contemplation, creativity, and compassion.

Yaconelli spent 20 years working with young people and the people who serve them (parents, youth workers, pastors) in congregational, camp, and conference settings. His research and ministry with young people has been ground-breaking in its exploration of spiritual direction, contemplation, and ancient spiritual practices as the basis of formation with young people.

Michael Hryniuk is a theologian, writer, speaker, spiritual director, and consultant in the field of Christian spirituality and contemplative formation. After several years of pastoral work, including ministry with L’Arche International, he completed a doctorate in theology and psychology at Emory University where he focused on the dynamics of healing and conversion in communities of care, with a special interest in the power of shame and grace in the transformation process.

Hryniuk is the author of Theology, Disability and Spiritual Transformation (Cambria Press, 2010) as well as numerous academic and popular articles on the themes of youth ministry, contemplative spirituality, and pastoral theology. He lives in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and teaches in churches, schools, seminaries, and universities across Canada and the United States.

In addition to registering for the conference, some participants are also participating in a week-long youth ministry course for university credit, concluding June 2.

The Conference offers workshops and worship sessions with local ministers and worship leaders, and presents a series of plenary sessions by the guest presenters.

Conference Plenary Sessions

  • The Three Desires: Christianity as a Spiritual Path (Mark Yaconelli) explores the unique way in which the yearnings to receive, embody, and express love arise in the lives of teenagers, and how the Christian spiritual path empowers people to embrace a life of contemplation, creativity, and compassion.
  •  Embodying Love: the Creative Journey (Mark Yaconelli) helps people practice love and compassion towards themselves as well as to others.
  •  Loving Others: The Compassionate Journey (Mark Yaconelli) addresses ways to help young people practice compassionate action on behalf of others as a key to spiritual transformation.
  • Creating Schools of Love (Mark Yaconelli) looks at creating ministries that are transformative for youth, adults, and the wider community, helping to bring young people into the heart of God. This session looks at ministry as a radical process for cultivating love in the world.
  • Receiving Love: The Contemplative Journey (Michael Hyrniuk) invites participants to move beyond thinking, talking, and singing “about” God into a direct experience of God’s presence, power, and love.  The session introduces prayer practice that opens hearts to God’s presence and explores what “contemplative” experience reveals about ourselves, God, and ministry.
  • Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There:  Discerning God’s Presence and Activity in our Ministry (Michael Hryniuk) explores the practice of discernment and reflects on how to listen and respond to the signs of God’s loving and active presence in ministry.

For conference information, contact