2010 National Youth Conference of the Church of the Brethren
Fort Collins, Colo. — July 20, 2010
Chris Douglas (right) is honored for her years of service as the Church of the Brethren’s director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Douglas resigned last year from the youth ministry position to become the Conference director for the church. Above at left is Becky Ullom, who is leading her first NYC as youth director, and who called Douglas to the podium on the NYC stage during the Tuesday evening service. Douglas received a standing ovation from the youth. Photo by Glenn Riegel
At the end of “The Wizard of Oz,” the Scarecrow is told that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others. If that’s true, it was clear at an NYC reception on Tuesday night that Chris Douglas has one loving heart for her sisters and brothers among the Brethren.
Despite the exhaustion that comes with the closing days of a youth conference, and the fact that the North Ballroom of Lory is about as far as you can go on the Colorado State University campus without crossing any state borders, the line of people at the reception was long and constantly renewed.
Douglas says that although her title often changed over the years, her mission to youth and young adults always inspired and invigorated her. She regards them not as the church of the future but the church of right now.
Her work style, in which she focuses on one task at a time until it is done, before moving on to the next one, was on display at the reception as she gave everyone in the line her undivided attention.
The conversation was as warm as the memories that were shared. Mary Jo Flory-Steury recalled how Chris had mentored her many years ago. Steve Spire recalled how the two passed the same penny back and forth in different and creative ways over the course of 20 years. Greyson Smith laughed as he recalled how once at CCS he and his roommate responded to her late-night bed check (they were up past hours) by asking for a bedtime story; she sat down and told them a story about “two boys who needed to go to bed.” Dennis Brown said he made it his mission to ensure there was always chocolate “to soothe her soul.”
Douglas’ work habits and hours were legendary–early to bed and early to rise. Several people at the reception, which began at 10 p.m. after evening worship, were appreciative of the fact she had stayed up so late in order to greet all her guests. But none were surprised, since the essential part of her ministry has been that there are no ordinary people–each one is the most important person in the world.
–Frank Ramirez is pastor of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren
The News Team for the 2010 National Youth Conference (NYC) includes photographers Glenn Riegel and Keith Hollenberg, writers Frank Ramirez and Frances Townsend, “NYC Tribune” guru Eddie Edmonds, Facebooker and Twitterer Wendy McFadden, website staff Amy Heckert, and news director and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
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