Wednesday, April 12, 2023

2023 Confirmation Retreat- by Abigail Gedeon

Confirmation Retreat

This year's Confirmation retreat was at Camp Chestnut Ridge. NRUMC got to go with two other churches, Soapstone UMC and Southern Pines UMC, and their pastors came along and gave advice to everyone to learn better ways to pray and connect with God, and each other. We also learned what confirming is, and what it will do to help with our connection with our church and God. Both confirmands and Adults got to make Stoles although the confirmands got to make the soles they will be confirmed with. We made out Stoles section by section, when people finished a section of writing or drawing we told the people in our table group why we put that on our stole and what it meant to us, it gave us a chance to find our similarities and differences with those people. I personally loved the free time we had. It gave us a chance to have more time to learn and meet other people and build a bigger bond with people that we knew. The confirmands got to write letters to people in college and other adults. In case they are having a hard time, or need comfort and reassurance, also know that God is with them and has unconditional love. In another station, confirmands Had a chance to create prayer beads, to either help you pray or remind you to pray. The prayer beads would be made thinking of things or people to pray for, such as family, friends, worries or feelings. The confirmation retreat also helped us connect and learn more about different people, God and other churches and their traditions.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Big Idea 2023- by Abigail Gedeon

Big Idea

This year's Big Idea’s theme was build, and they correlated build with legos. We had lego keychains for our lanyards with our schedule, and there were paper legos in the youth building. Now the theme of build was not just building legos, but building your faith in God, and forming a better foundation and structure, and also that you don’t have to build that foundation alone! One of my personal favorite things that big idea had were the daily skits in the youth building. The skits were very funny but yet also had a meaning,-- at least most of them. Along with the skits were daily games Where watch day there would be a different game, where at least one member of the different groups tried out. Saturday was when the different groups did different things. Two groups went around sanding and staining the benches, along with help fixing the bushes and fences. And Mr. Scott fixed the basketball hoop! Another group went to a store and bought birthday supplies and made cookies at their host home to pack them up and donate them to people who don’t have enough money to celebrate their own birthday. My group went to Dollar General to buy kitchen supplies for people who need to buy their stuff reused or old, so we packed and made 15 bucket fulls to donate to the green chair. It was really fun, not only did we have fun and fix things around our church but also helped other people in one day. Rev. Nina the pastor who did the daily sermons did a great job and really understood the build theme, she did great giving us an open mind to God, Big Idea also helped build my friendships, not only learning about each other but also learning how to help each other find ways to connect and build a stronger foundation of grace with God. The songs were also a bomb :D

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Update February 2023!

Welcome again to Daniel Brown, our new part time Associate Director of Youth Ministries! Congrats to Daniel for surviving and thriving his first month on the job! We want to let you know about ALL the great things coming up this semester! 

Upcoming NRUMC Events:

  • Senior Retreat (Feb 17-19)
  • Big Idea (March 10-12) for 6th-12th grade youth
  • Confirmation Retreat (March 24-26)
  • Journey to the Cross (April 7th)
  • Easter Egg Fundraiser deliveries (April 8)

  • April 22- Confirmation Sunday
  • Family Mission Weekend at Camp Tekoa (April 28-30)
  • June 4- Graduate Sunday

  • Tekoa Mission Trip- 6th-12th grade youth (June 11-17)
  • NRUMC Vacation Bible School (June 18-22)
  • Breakaway-Summer Camp, 6th-12th grade youth (June 26-July 1)

All of these registrations and more info can be found on our website and our linktree account!
Opportunities for parents to serve:
  • Big Idea: 
  • Help set up Journey to the Cross (April 6/7)
  • Help deliver Easter Eggs on April 8th!
  • Attend Family Mission Weekend!
  • Help host Confirmation Celebration reception (April 21)
  • Help host Graduate Celebration dinner (June 3)

Youth Group for February:

---At Middle School Youth Group

It’s not easy to stay focused. Especially these days, when we’re connected to a never-ending stream of new notifications, ads, messages, videos, posts, and entertainment, it makes sense if we feel a little distracted sometimes. Maybe you’ve struggled recently to stay focused on your homework, or on the story your friend was telling you, or on the movie you were watching — but have you ever struggled to stay focused when you were spending time with God? Through this series, we’re going to get honest about how difficult it can be to stay focused when we’re trying to pray, read the Bible, or grow in our faith. Together, we’ll try focusing on what God has said, on giving something up, on talking to God, and on rest.

--At High School Youth Group
Have you ever heard someone say something that seemed unreasonable? Maybe they told a story or made a statement that was hard for you to believe. It’s not always easy to ask questions or express doubt when other people seem so certain, and that’s especially true when it comes to faith. If you ask hard questions about God or are honest about the things you’re not sure about, what will people think? Will they judge you?  Through Scripture, we’ll discover that when we have doubts and questions, we don’t need to ignore them or sweep them under the rug. Instead, we can look to Jesus, look to the Holy Spirit, look to God’s words, and look for God in unexpected places.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Fall YM Ministry Needs 2022


WELCOME and THANK YOU to our newest Small Group Leaders: Danny, Melissa, and Valerie <3. Join me in praying for all of our leaders this year, that they will be sustained and strengthened to pour into our students this year as they grow in their faith.

Parents, we are looking forward to so many upcoming things here at NRUMC! And we need your help!

Golf Tournament:

- Our annual golf tournament is how we replenish our designated funds from year to year, including scholarships for youth ministry trips, retreats, etc... We never want money to be the reason a student can't join in. Please find a way to help support the Golf Tournament!  You can visit businesses to ask for sponsorships (Info here), You can collect raffle prizes, you can donate items for the player's bags, or even volunteer the day of the tournament, October 17th. (Sign Up here) We need everyone's help to guarantee this fundraiser is a success and can continue to be a way we provide for our community and our students here at North Raleigh.

Additionally, we are creating a process for your student's Golf Tournament involvement to directly affect their trip costs. For every Sponsor they recruit (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Hole Sponsor, Flag Sponsor) $50 will be credited to their next youth event. For every raffle prize, $25 will be credited to their next trip. (Raffle prizes need to be of $25 value or greater) 

Saturday August 27th is Kick-Off Party!

- We need several parents to help!  We need station leaders, set up help, and more!
Sign Up Here
- If you haven't registered for this year, take 5 minutes to fill out the online registration form for your students. 
- We also need new health forms for 2022-2023 so that we can best care for all our students on trips and at programming.

Soon we will be collecting items to support the children's ministry and NRUMC Pre-school in welcoming our community to NRUMC at Fall Festival. 

We will need help cooking and selling hotdogs, several decorated trunks, and then collecting donated items for the event like candy, and more! 

Youth Sunday School is now Student Breakfast Club!
Starting Sunday, 8/28/22

-Sign up to bring food! 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Family Resources for this Lenten Season

Monday, January 11, 2021

For the New Year- January 2021

    I remember when I was very little learning the children's rhyme where you use your fingers and say "Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors and see all the people."   Walking through the church lately where the halls empty, where it's too dark, too clean, and too quiet, I long to have the music back, to hear crying babies; I miss the sounds of children running the halls and the hugs of friends.  This is now how things are supposed to be...    

    I grew up in the church.  Literally. The churches my dad served were my playgrounds after school and I knew ALL the best hiding places. :) And of course now, I work at a church.  So it's completely foreign to have a year of not worshiping together, not serving together, not being together.  It's foreign to not see the community to whom we belong. We are all experiencing something we have never been through before. And I imagine we are all coping in many different ways.  But I trust that you share my heart felt longing to be together in person again, and my grief that we cannot do so safely. We have the comfort of being "alone together "but even that is waning...

    I've tried to have the perspective that we are isolating now so that when we gather again everyone will be at the table. But it's difficult when we feel hungry for it NOW.  Our favorite parts of belonging to a church are missing for us right now.  We don't know how to "do church" from home, how to be in community with those we don't see, how to worship as individuals or just with our families.  Yes, community is one of the Church's greatest gifts, but it's not our only definer. For the Church IS the people.  I remember another song I learned as a child that goes "I am the church. You are the church. WE are the church together."    We can't safely BE together right now, but WE are still the Church collectively. Our commission to Love God and love our neighbors and make disciples still stands. And the hope is that our church building and community have equipped us to continue in spiritual disciplines that sustain us, that sustain our relationship with God. 

    Fortunately, the believers who helped raise me into discipleship and ministry taught me well. They taught me to use a fork and to feed myself. And I am so grateful for the Sunday School teachers who taught me the books of the bible and how to read scripture, the confirmation mentor who helped explain God's grace, for the youth leaders who created experiences to encounter God through creative worship, and so so many others. Others like Louanne Elliot who served with my as a acolyte when I was too afraid to walk by myself in 2nd grade. She walked down the aisle with me every week for years so that I could participate in worship leadership.  These adults are the reason my faith continues on despite all the changes and challenges this year has brought us. These adults didn't form a disciple dependent on sitting in a pew, they taught me to claim my own spiritual growth and relationship with Christ.  I am grateful. 

    We aren't meant to "do church" alone, but our faith is our own and we alone are responsible. We teach our 6th grade confirmands that when they join the church, that their faith is now their own responsibility.  For me, this looks like daily reading and prayer, and holding fast to a few close friends who love Jesus as I do. I'm grateful to NRUMC and all our staff have done to keep our local church active in mission in our community and for the opportunities for us to worship and study virtually. I'm grateful that we have prioritized the safety and health of all. And, most of all, I'm proud of how we as a church family have been patient and resilient through this year and shown our commitment to protect one another by making tough sacrifices. I hope that when we regather, ALL are at the table together, and that we regard it as the privilege it is. 

    For many years, I thought I could only feel God's presence at church camp. That was the place I had first felt the power of the Holy Spirit, and it felt like I had to be in that space to truly encounter God. It took praying with a friend in crisis over the phone while sitting in my car that helped me truly understand the all surrounding presence of God among us and within us. I remind myself now that we cannot escape the presence of God (Psalm 139:7-12), or the Love of God (Romans 8:38-39)  It's comforting to me to remember that I am not alone.     You are not alone. 

    I haven't made a New Year's Resolution or picked a "word of the year" yet, and I might not.  We are dealing with enough personally, nationally, globally to be adding extra expectations on ourselves to seek 'self improvement' resolutions. It's ok if you are just surviving.  If you're feeling disconnected as I have, here's what's helped me: Call someone just because, use "snail mail" and write a card, create a worship playlist on Spotify, find a new sermon podcast or devotion book, reach out to your pastors... 

   You're doing your best, and so is everyone else.
   Have grace with others, have grace for yourself.

Jen Haselden
Director of Youth Ministry

PS:   I wrote this little poem back in May, never dreaming that we would still be where we are. 
But I'd like to share it again:

Saturday, June 20, 2020

5 Reasons I know that Black Lives Matter

                                                                                                                                    June 6, 2020

Five Reasons I can know that Black Lives Matter:

#1 – The prophetic call for action to end the suffering of those who are being oppressed and to pursue justice is found in scripture:  We hear it in the voices of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and Micah, just to name a few... "Learn to do good. Seek Justice. Help the Oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow."  Isaiah 1:17 (CEB)

#2 – Over and over, we see Jesus, and the disciples, paying attention to a particular person or group of people who have been marginalized or outcast. This is not a devaluing of others’ lives, but a needed and necessary acknowledgement of the sacred worth of particular lives which was being denied at the time.        #samaritansmatter #taxcollectorsmatter #gentilesmatter #eunuchsmatter

#3 – To acknowledge publicly that Black livse matter to ME personally- is a form of repentance.
It means acknowledging that far too often we have failed, in word and deed, to say that they DO matter, especially at those times when they most needed us to stand up and speak out.
We remember our United Methodist liturgy of confession says: “We have not loved our neighbors. We have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive us, we pray.”

#4 – To all who follow Christ Jesus, he tells us: “Deny Yourself” not “Justify Yourself.”
Now is the time to check our privilege. To be grateful for those who lead the way to true equality. To elevate and amplify the voices and experiences of persons whose stories need to be heard right now.
And also to pray for the kingdom of God to be on Earth now through us.

#5 – Jesus prayed “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done” – This is a groundbreaking moment in our history where we have the opportunity to participate in a movement that draws us closer to the reality of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. 

And I don’t know about you, but I don't want to miss it.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

“God at Work” Summer 2020 @ NRUMC

“Does God really work that hard for one person?”

This is the question a student once asked me after studying Matthew 18: 12-14, where Jesus uses the
image of a shepherd leaving ninety-nine perfectly healthy sheep to find one that has wandered off
- saying that God does the same for us! That is hard for me to grasp (especially the times when I am
the wandering sheep), but if God is willing to work that hard just so one person knows they are loved,
maybe I should too. 

Jesus also tells us that what we do for the least of these, we are really doing it for him. Maybe these
“least of these” people haven’t wandered, but I believe God works just as hard in their lives. 

That is who God is: a hard worker; someone who sees the uncomfortable and the challenging and
says “That is still worth it!” We see this through whenever he goes back to cities that kicked him out or
tried to stone him to death or when Jesus sits with those who are on the fringe of society and gets to
know them. Jesus does the hard things and steps out of his comfort zone because there is work to be

I believe that God works hard for one person, but I believe that God does that work through us. 

This summer, we have some amazing opportunities to do that work! Please take a look at what we’ll be
doing in the summer of 2020 and sign up to be a part of it!

M28 Camp June 28 - July 1
As God works hard for one person, sometimes that work needs to be done in us! We are excited to
return to M28 Camp at Lake Junaluska, where students will experience a weekend of fellowship and
fun in the mountains of North Carolina, while also learning about what it means to be a disciple as we
explore the call Jesus gives us in Matthew 28. 

When: June 28 -  July 1
Where: Lake Junaluska Retreat Center
Who: 6th grade - 12th grade
Cost: $300
Registration and Deposit due: March 1
Register here:

CSM Philadelphia July 12-18
For a carpenter, we never really see Jesus swing a hammer for all the work he did to show God’s love.
While using the gift and hard work of construction to serve those in need is a beautiful thing, we
wanted to provide an opportunity to step out from where we’ve grown comfortable. In this urban
mission, City Service Mission (CSM) will guide us as we serve in various ways around
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! While this image of serving may seem different from what we’ve done in
the past, this work will still provide the very hands on experience that NRUMC students have come to
Our accommodations are provided by St. James UMC and Joy in the City, two organizations local to Philly! These locations will help us feel integrated in the community that we are serving. Throughout the week, we will visit different mission organizations to work and provide care for their clients and guests. Each evening, CSM will take us to local restaurants as we continue to learn about and build relationships with the community! 

We are excited to say we will have a free day at the end of our week here in Philadelphia, which will give NRUMC a chance to explore the city on our own. We will ll do some sightseeing, find the best cheese steak, and celebrate the time we will have spent together that week!

When: July 12 -  July 18
Where: Philadelphia, PA
Who: 6th grade - 12th grade
Cost: $475
Registration and Deposit Due: March 1
Register here:
Faith Ministries- Reynosa, Mexico July 26 - August 1
North Raleigh UMC has been working with Faith Ministry in the community of Reynosa, Mexico for
many years, building strong relationships (and strong houses!) with those who we have served.
This summer, NRUMC high school students have the opportunity to continue strengthening those
relationships while serving the citizens of Reynosa. The cinder block and cement houses we will help
build provide families with the shelter, warmth and security they need. We are thankful for the faithful
adults in our congregation who have made this opportunity possible for our youth and we can’t wait to
see our youth learn and grow alongside them.

Before going on this trip, each student is required to have a conversation with Nick or Jen. We will also
have team meetings once every month, starting in April and leading up to the trip! Lastly, we are
requiring that passport information be turned in with your registration by March 1 to help with
travel bookings!

When: July 26 -  August 1
Where: Reynosa, Mexico
Who: 9th grade - 12th grade
Cost: $750
Registration, Passport, and Deposit Due: March 1
Register here:

Where YOU Can Help
This Spring, we are excited to once again partner with the United Methodist Men
for our Golf Tournament Fundraiser. We are aware that students may not be able
to attend the day of the tournament, but we can still use your help!

We are always looking for businesses to sponsor this event through monetary donations,

prizes, or by providing refreshments. We have set up a few days that align with your
school calendars for you and other members of the Youth Group to campaign for sponsors!
By helping with this and getting involved with tournament preparations, students will
be able to raise money to go toward their trips specifically!

You can sign up to campaign here:

We are very excited for these opportunities and we hope you’ll join us this summer as we grow and serve together!
Please watch our Youth Summer Trips 2020 video:

Youth Summer Trips 2020 from North Raleigh United Methodist on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Families in Mission- Where will your family serve?

I recently read this article about helping families serve in mission together, and I was instantly proud of the way our congregation at NRUMC encourages families to do this!

If you spend even just a few minutes on our new website you'll see SO MANY ways our church is in mission! From monthly hurricane relief trips to supporting over 75 backpacks of food every week for students in need. Our church's values call us to generosity- to serve and give to others, but also to exhibit courage! Serving as a family might mean giving up something else. I encourage you to be brave enough to SAY YES anyway,  even if it means saying no to something else... 

I pray that
 during this season that your family will take advantage of just a few of the mission opportunities that NRUMC offers. 

YAM JAM  - Oct. 12
-Come dig in the dirt and bag potatoes for the Society of St. Andrews!

Family Promise -Oct. 20-27
- Sign up to cook a meal or be an evening host!

SuperHero Run - Oct. 26
-For the fifth year, friends, family members, runners and walkers will come together to support two families who have suffered too much after their children were affected by rare diseases

UMW Holiday Market - Nov. 7/8
- Bring baked good or crafts to donate to the market.
- Donate used books
- Come shop the market and silent auction on Nov. 7

UMM BBQ- Nov. 8
-Order BBQ plates and Brunswick stew in advance to benefit local missions!

Visit our website to see even more mission opportunities!

“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  
Acts 20:35

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Thoughts from a Small Group Leader- "Big O"

"If you build it they will come." The tag line made popular by the film Field of Dreams. The story followed an Iowa corn farmer who was being lead to build a baseball field in the middle of his corn field.  As it turns out the main reason he was led to do this was to recapture a chance to toss a baseball with his dad. 
Over the past few years North Raleigh UMC has been striving to create and energize a Youth Ministry program that lives up to our Churches "Vision Statement" to  glorify God and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by offering a safe and caring environment for anyone who is searching to be spiritually fulfilled and accepted. Yes we stumbled over the past five years but I'm excited to say that all of the pieces necessary to live up to our goal are in place. The programs are being planned and your ministry team, Jen, Nick and a group of dedicated volunteers are eager to help you along the way.
We've "built it" now who's ready to come play in our corn field, or sweet potatoes if that's your yam. I am so encouraged by the participation we've had  on Sunday nights to start off this year. God has definitely been in the room, leading songs, playing games and speaking through your leaders with messages of encouragement. 
On a personal note though I would love to see a greater participation from the upper classes. We all recognize the many obligations and requirements on your time. With college applications, social events, jobs and school work it's hard to put aside those two hours on Sunday evening. However I also understand the importance of having that one place and time that you can relax and be refreshed, a Refuge- if you will. 
Come see us, Sunday evenings at 6:30PM. If you can't we'd still love to hear from you and know that you are OK. Contact Jen or Nick or any of your Small Group leaders. We are there to "have a catch" any time.
John "Big O" Owen.

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