The theme of the 2016 Triennium was "GO," each day exploring a different aspect of the word.
Day One began with the story of angels announcing Jesus’ birth to terrified shepherds, telling them to “Go and see,” which they did, together, despite their fear. On the second day, they heard the story of the Good Samaritan, ending with Jesus’ telling his listeners to “Go and do likewise,” treating all people as their friends and neighbors.
Day Three highlighted Psalm 32 “I will teach you the way you should go,” assuring that failures and disappointments are moments that show where God is leading. On the fourth day, they looked at the Exodus story of Moses leading his people out of Egypt, leaving everything behind and heading into the unknown after pleading with Pharaoh to “Let my people go.”
On the last day, the Triennium kids looked at the great commission to “Go into the world,” where “Go” is a command, not an invitation, sending them back to their friends, families, communities, and churches taking their next steps with God at their side.
Besides hearing powerful preachers and inspiring musicians, the kids engaged in small group discussions and formed bonds with each other. Lydia, a two-time Triennium participant, said, “In 2013, I had a wonderful experience and I hoped that this year could live up to those high standards. The first time, I was astonished to see so many youth together for worship. This time, I found amazement in other ways. A huge change happened over the week that I pray will continue in the future. As the week progressed, our delegation became more tightknit. I connected with so many of the kids from my delegation. We had to pull together tables at meals to accommodate all of us. As the week went on, more and more of us joined together, and we pulled up seats for the Korean partners. I hope that now, we will continue to add seats to the table of the Presbytery.”
Presbyterians value their tradition as a connected church, finding that together they can do greater things than they can do alone. For kids like ours, who are used to worshiping in smaller congregations of mostly older adults, the experience of being with 5000 other teenagers for worship and singing and fellowship is a powerful one.
Glyn, another Triennium “two-timer,” described it like this: “I am frequently asked what Triennium is, and I respond with something along the lines of ‘it is a Presbyterian Youth Conference,’ which doesn’t do it justice. Triennium is about finding God in both unique and traditional ways and finding ways to spread God’s love to all people. These outlets to God include pop music, dancing, modernized worship services, group and individual prayer, and meeting and getting to know other youth from our presbytery and presbyteries around the world. Triennium is a place for youth to be who they truly are, with no judgment from others, while worshipping God. During both trips, I have made connections with wonderful people. However, after this second trip, I feel as I have a second family. I met amazing youth from my own delegation that I never would have met if it hadn’t been for Triennium. I talk to all of them weekly, and a few of them daily. I found God in many ways-- the strongest way was in the incredible people I have met. I can already see that the friendships I formed from Triennium will stand the test of time. In all honesty, there are no words that can truly describe Triennium; it is a ‘you had to be there’ experience. If one can imagine a place filled with 5,000 of one’s best friends where one can be who he/she is, then one can begin to understand the Triennium experience.”
Triennium has been described as a life-giving, life-changing, faith-moving experience, this year focusing was on what happens after the kids return home, finding the “Go” moments in their lives.