Regeneration brings healing, renewal and hope

by Katie Laidlaw
Territorial Christian Education
Director for Discipleship

For the first time since 2020, 226 delegates, ages 18-29, met at Camp Wonderland for Regeneration, the Central Territory’s young adult retreat. They came from all eight divisions, accompanied by their divisional youth leaders, with opens hearts for a weekend of beloved community, intentional teaching and impactful worship.

In planning Regeneration, Peggy McGee, youth leadership and resource development director, had a vision for an event that would bring healing, renewal and hope amid uncertain and difficult times. For the weekend, she chose Jeremiah 29, a passage where the Israelites are in a liminal state of exile. Would they ever experience the freedom and comfort of making it out of Babylon? It is difficult to grow and thrive in a liminal space. How are God’s people supposed to “build houses and plant gardens” as the Scripture commands without becoming complacent in temporary seasons?

Territorial Youth Secretary Captain Michael Hanton welcomed delegates during the Friday night keynote session declaring, “We are here! The past few years have been stolen from us, but God is good, and He is doing a new thing.”

Delegates entered into wholehearted worship led by Timothy Reddick, intentional and moving prayer exercises with Courtney Rose, North & Central Illinois divisional young adult director, and excellent teaching from guest speaker Candice Wynn, Orange youth ministry coach and consultant. Delegates were eager to hear from the Lord and responded to Him with surrender.

Young adults also had the opportunity to enjoy fellowship at a silent disco, complete with three DJs and a 360 camera and at a storybook banquet where everyone was encouraged to dress as their favorite fairytale or storybook character.

Stephanie Marinelli, territorial world missions department sponsorship and mission project specialist, led the Regeneration community in a project to raise $1,500 for Salvation Army child development centers in Sri Lanka. Feeling moved, they gave more than double the goal—$3,109.59! With the territorial headquarters match grant of up to $2,500, a grand total of $5,609.59 was sent to Sri Lanka.

Saturday held new opportunities for delegates. Followed by brunch, they were able to experience a discussion panel using the 3Practice Circle tool. Panelists Major Jamie Satterlee from National Headquarters, Captain Denesia Polusca from the Chicago Temple, Ill., Corps and Territorial Program Secretary Lt. Colonel Jonathan Rich provided thoughtful insight in answering the question, “What evidence today shows that young adults are prepared to lead The Salvation Army into the future?” Their dialogue encouraged delegates to engage and ask questions. Following the discussion, delegates participated in their own 3Practice Circles in table groups about the young adult experience which brought growth in relationships while they envisioned revival in our Army.

Candice Wynn shared deep and impactful wisdom from God’s Word while also providing practical encouragement for the delegates.

“The day we plant a seed is not the same day we eat its fruit…don’t give up,” she said. She encouraged delegates that even in suffering, God is there. Even in the questioning, God is there. Even when we don’t feel Him, God is there. God has a plan and desires to walk His people through the difficulties of experiencing exile.

Saturday evening featured worship with Timothy Reddick and a word from the Lord given by Major Caleb Senn, North & Central Illinois general secretary. Delegates basked in God’s presence, anticipating what He was going to do. They were hungry for this time with God. Worship moved from being led by Timothy Reddick with instruments and lights to being spontaneous and a cappella complete with harmonies. Altars were lined with people seeking the Lord; worshippers and ministers cried out to God and prayed with one another.

On Sunday morning, delegates had an opportunity to testify to God’s mighty work over the weekend. Many shared feeling peace, joy and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Many received a fresh vision, inspiration and desire for revival. Many received healing and hope.

“A week ago, I was challenged to imagine a church where everyone wants the next person to succeed. A church where there is no one versus anyone else but instead all seeking to focus on glorifying the Lord,” said delegate Reggie Brooks from the Rockford Temple, Ill., Corps. “The revival I saw [at Regeneration] was new people attending, space for everyone, and everyone leaning into new experiences. The revival I saw was one of freedom, curiosity and engagement.”

Revival among the young adults of the territory will be 226 Spirit-led individuals who build houses and plant gardens even in exile, individuals who cultivate God-centered community and call God’s people to holiness. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Please join us as we continue to love, encourage and pray for the young adults of the Central Territory. As Candice Wynn concluded, “I have a tremendous amount of hope for this church with the group of people that are present. Great things are going to happen.”

 

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