David Harrelson, our Youth Minister, is joined by Alan Porter, Stanna Porter, and Art Matthews who lead our a capella worship every Sunday for first service.
Amber Perry and Patrick Leong, our worship ministers, are joined by various UCC Members, as they lead worship every Sunday during 2nd service.
ON SUNDAYS, DAVID, WITH THE HELP OF DAVID AND NOLA FISHER, AND TOM AND GENIA ALLISON. HELP OUR TEENAGERS STUDY FOR THE UPCOMING BIBLE BOWL COMPETITIONS. They also help the teens prepare for a drama sketch that the teens PERFORM during Fabulous 13.
On January 17th, David hosted a Bible Bowl lock-in for the teenagers. Teenagers participating in Bible Bowl are invited to a lock-in where they study for the upcoming Bible Bowl tournaments. They also have fun spending time playing interactive games like Nukem.
On January 20th, Matt Schalk kicked off the school semester with an AFC fun night. This is a night where college students come to the gym, play games, eat food, socialize, and have fun before they begin school.
David also got some help From his wife, Beth Harrelson, and our Executive Minister, Sonya Harmon.
Aubrey Russell and Peyton Womble both used their beautiful voices to sing songs at the Banquet.
David Harrelson says that, "The more adults interacting with our teens the better their spiritual growth!"
The last Sunday of January the elders prayed over the Community Group leaders. Amy Russell, our Children's Minister, brought the kids in front of the congregation and talked about what the children have been learning for the past month.
After the Bible Bowl competition, the teens were divided into 19 groups that went out and did 19 different service projects in Las Cruces.
These projects include:
- Passing out water.
- Working with Alzheimer patients.
- Animal services.
- Delivering food.
- Working at nursing homes.
- Interacting with children and reading to them.
- Feeding the homeless.
- Washing firetrucks.
- Picking up trash in lots.
This was followed by dinner and then a performance by our Youth Drama Group.
Alyssa Newton grew up in UCC, she has lead worship for UCC services, retreats, and other events. She has also performed in theater musicals that raised money for the youth group. Alyssa has done so much for UCC, we are very blessed to have her in our family. Alyssa, is currently studying songwriting at Belmont University.
Two days later, UCC celebrated the resurrection of Jesus.
EASTER STARTED GREAT WHEN DESTINY CORONA, ONE OF OUR TEENAGERS, WAS BAPTIZED BY DAVID HARRELSON.
IN HIS SERMON, CHARLTON COMPARED PETER’S DENIAL OF JESUS IN JOHN CHAPTER 18 TO OUR OWN FAILURES. HE THEN RELATED JESUS’S RESTORATION OF PETER IN CHAPTER 21 TO THE FORGIVENESS, NEW LIFE AND HOPE WE HAVE RECEIVED.
CHARLTON MENTIONS THAT IF THE BOOK OF JOHN HAD ENDED ON CHAPTER 20, PETER IS LEFT WITH UNCERTAINTY, SHAME, AND FAILURE.
Chapter 21 is there so that you and I can be assured that Jesus restored Peter... that Peter wasn't left in his denial, guilt and shame... but here's the thing. If there were no resurrection, there is no Chapter 21. Peter goes down in history as a failure... a quitter on his teacher, mentor and friend.
CHARLTON POINTED OUT THAT ALL OF US HAVE A “CHAPTER 20” AND “CHAPTER 21” IN OUR OWN LIVES. WE EACH HAVE FAILURE, BUT WE HAVE ALSO RECEIVED FORGIVENESS, NEW LIFE AND HOPE THROUGH JESUS’S RESURRECTION.
You see the resurrection means we all get a chapter 21... That it doesn't end in chapter 20, that your chapter 20 doesn't have the final say... the resurrection does!
AT THIS POINT CHARLTON STANDS UP WITH A SIGN. ON ONE SIDE OF THAT SIGN, IT SHOWED HIS "CHAPTER 20", A STATEMENT OF BROKENNESS, SIN, OR SUFFERING. ON THE OTHER SIDE, IT SHOWED HOW HIS "CHAPTER 21", A CONFESSION ON HOW GOD, THROUGH THE POWER OF THE RESSURECTION, HAS TRANSFORMED THAT PART OF THEIR LIFE.
AFTER THIS 15 DIFFERENT UCC MEMBERS GOT UP ON STAGE AND SHOWED THEIR "CHAPTER 20" AND "CHAPTER 21".
For 50 selfless years of dedicated service to the campus ministry at University Church of Christ. The campus at New Mexico State University and countless individual's lives will be forever changed because of your service, your shepherding, and your heart for young people.
On April 8th David took several teenagers on a weekend backpacking trip through little creek.
That next Friday, David took a group of teenagers to the Riverside Youth Rally in Albuquerque.
On Sunday April 17th the UCC staff hung a bunch of photos of our members in the foyer.
THE STAFF WANTED TO REMIND OUR MEMBERS THAT UNIVERSITY CHURCH OF CHRIST IS A COMMUNITY BASED CHURCH. OUR CHURCH RUNS AND EXISTS BECAUSE OF THE LOVE, SKILLS, MONEY, AND TIME OUR MEMBERS GIVE TO THE CHURCH.
UCC HAS ROUGHLY 35 PEOPLE WHO VOLUNTEER TO HELP RUN SERVICES ON SUNDAY MORNING AND WEDNESDAY EVENINGS. THIS INCLUDES PEOPLE WHO SING, PLAY INSTRUMENTS, AND RUN AUDIO/VIDEO DURING THESE SERVICES. UCC ALSO HAS TEACHERS, A PRISON MINISTRY, COMMUNITY GROUP LEADERS, COMMUNION PREPARERS, GROUNDSKEEPERS, CLEANERS, MECHANICS, EVENT PLANNERS, AND MANY MORE, WHO GIVE THEIR TIME, MONEY, AND SKILLS TO OUR CHURCH. OUR CHURCH AND MEMBERS ALSO LOVE TO SERVE OTHERS IN VARIOUS WAYS. WE HAVE VARIOUS SERVICE PROJECTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR THAT HAVE AN IMPACT ON OTHER PEOPLES LIVES. WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL AND BLESSED TO HAVE SO MANY VOLUNTEERS WHO ARE WILLING TO TAKE TIME OUT OF THEIR LIVES TO SERVE OUR CHURCH. THANK YOU ALL FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO! IT NEVER GOES UNAPPRECIATED.
On Saturday April 23rd, Rae Prather and Alissa Bezenek were Baptized in the Rio Grande river.
The Convoy of Hope is a faith-based, nonprofit organization that has helped over 70 million people throughout the world.
University Church of Christ was one of the 53 churches that partnered with Convoy of Hope while they were here in Las Cruces.
MANY OF OUR UCC MEMBERS GAVE UP THEIR SATURDAY TO VOLUNTEER AT THIS EVENT. WE HAD 30+ VOLUNTEERS JUST FROM THE AFC GROUP ALONE. WAY TO GO TEAM! YOU GET A TWO THUMBS UP FROM OUR CONNECTIONS MINISTER, JEFFREY HEIDENREICH.
These are only some of the countless stores and spiritual adventurers that take place at UCC. This church is very blessed to have ministries dedicated to kids, teenagers, college students, and adults.
Here is a list of our other College students who graduated:
Chris Brooks, Master of Curriculum & Instruction, NMSU
Ashley Matsko, Master of Business Administration, NMSU
Jarrett Neal, Bachelor of Business Project & Supply Chain Management & Managerial Leadership, NMSU
Lauren Tinley, Bachelor in Communication Disorders, NMSU
Jared Van Natta, Bachelor of Arts & Sciences in Anthropology, NMSU
Julie Wojtko, Masters of History & Public History, NMSU
That same evening, the youth group had their annual "Passing the Baton." This is an event where the graduating Seniors pass a baton to the Juniors. This is a special event that reflects leadership in our youth group and allows the seniors to reflect how they have grown in the youth group.
This has been a tradition since 1991, so a very long tradition. Each year our seniors pass down the batons to the juniors to symbolize the passing down of leadership. Plus, we want to encourage next year's seniors to be active in the youth group. So often, when teens hit their senior year, the youth group seems childish and silly, so many of them cut back on their involvement. We wanted our seniors to see how desperately they are needed. All of our teens look up to the senior class and having them slip away during the summer is always a tremendous set back. It will be a great opportunity for everyone to let our seniors know how much they will be missed. -David Harrelson
Here is a list of our HIGH SCHOOL Seniors:
Kristen Baca, Centennial
Cole Blanchard, Centennial
Dylan Hamilton-Bristol, Centennial
Lakyn Coppedge, Mesilla Valley Christian School
Amber Graves, Oñate
Jerry Gurrola, Centennial
Samantha Harmon, Oñate
Cameron Jones, Centennial
Samantha Martin, Oñate
Ashton Womble, Oñate
On Sunday May 8th, the church celebrated Mother's day with a video slideshow.
On Friday May 13th a group of mothers and their teenage daughters went on a retreat to Ruidoso. This is a great opportunity for mothers to spend time with their daughters away from the rest of the world.
On Sunday May 16th, David Harrelson took our high school seniors and their families to Chili's to thank them for everything they have done for the Youth Group.
The youth group also had three service projects this month. On May 11th, they went to serve food and visited with residents at Arbors of Del Rey. On May 18th, they served pizza and had a worship service at Camp Hope. And on May 25th, they had a kickball game with some local residents, they also served some food and had a devotional service.
At UCC we believe that community is a huge part of our journey of faith, that living life together makes life better and makes us better Jesus followers. Since many of our community groups take a break for the summer and to keep our connections going and growing, we’re planning 5 Wednesday night events were calling the Fab Fam 5.
There were two Fab Fam 5 events in June, the first one was a Potluck-Gate in the UCC parking lot. There was plenty of food and games for everyone to enjoy. The second one, Charlton and Marybeth invited everyone over to their house for pancakes.
On Saturday June 12th, David took a group of teenagers to Encounter. Encounter is a camp held at Lubbock Christian University. It's one of the most popular events in the youth group next to Pine Springs. This is what one of the students had to say about Encounter:
Encounter is my favorite event of the year! At Encounter, we spend a week on the LCU campus where our youth group attends classes, worship service, and fellowship with other youth groups. What I love so much about Encounter, is being able to attend classes taught by other youth ministers. Hearing from other biblical leaders has helped me develop my own faith with Christ, I believe it’s a very important part in our spiritual journey. It is also the event that I personally feel like our youth unites together. During this week, we love to run to the front row during all events, we fellowship together, we go to classes together, we eat together, we enjoy together, and we love together. One lesson that stands out to me that I took from Encounter, is that you can have a group of diverse personalities, interests, and characteristics, who still come together to worship and serve our LORD. GOD’s love is so strong that it brings people with complete opposite traits into fellowship and friendship. Encounter is an amazing camp that I hope everyone gets to experience.
On Sunday June 19th, UCC celebrated Father's day with awesome fake mustaches you can wear and Tons of Bacon!
ON SUNDAY JUNE 26TH, DAVID AND A GROUP OF TEENAGERS HEADED UP TO THE PINE SPRING CAMP FOR A FULL WEEK OF FUN AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH. LIKE ENCOUNTER, PINE SPRINGS IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR EVENTS IN THE YOUTH GROUP, SO I THINK IT'S BEST TO HEAR FROM ONE OF THE STUDENTS.
Pine Springs is a week-long spiritual journey that helped me discover who I am. For 7 days we are isolated from the rest of the world where we can focus on our relationship with GOD, as well as build our community with each other. During this week we are split into these groups called families. In these families, we do a lot of activities together, including, competing with other families, creating skits, solving puzzles, and expressing our thoughts among each other. We are challenged during this week to look at our lives and point out what sin we have in our life. We are also challenged to be open about this in our family. These were important steps for my spiritual growth, because it helped me realized that I am not alone in this, that I need other Christians to help me fight the battle, and that I need to be honest about my life. This has helped mold me into the Christian that I am today. I feel like Encounter is more focused on our youth group, Pine Springs is more focused on the individual. One of my favorite memories from Pine Springs was having my feet washed from one of the adults from UCC. Being able to experience that in person gave me a different perspective on Jesus washing his disciples feet. David does such an amazing job running the camp, I don’t know where I would be without him.
After VBS on Wednesday, the church held a picnic for everyone to come to. The next Wednesday UCC held a worship service for it's 4th Fab Fam 5 event.
On Thursday July 21st, David took a group of teenagers to go backpacking in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. They also did a service project for the church in Driggs Idaho.
On July 24th, the church had an appreciation party for our former Connections Minister, Jeffrey Heidenreich. Jeffrey decided to pursue a career in education and left his ministry position at the end of July. Jeffrey first came to UCC in 2007 as a Freshman in college. During his college years he attended AFC becoming a leader in the group. Jeffrey lead small groups, ran events, and even started the "Guess who's coming to Dinner?" event in AFC. After graduating from college in 2011, Jeffrey became our Church's Connections Minister in January, 2012. While being our connections minister, Jeffrey helped expand our churches relationship to the city of Las Cruces. tHANK YOU jEFFREY FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE.
On July 31st, my sister-in-law, Brittany Johnson, was Baptized!
On Sunday August 14th, our church asked anyone student in the k-12 grade as well as anyone who works in a school system to come up stage to have our staff and elders pray for them.
On Wednesday August 17th, UCC hosted a Food Truck Fiesta. We had several food trucks in the UCC parking lot and a few hundred people show up. Our Worship ministers played some songs and inside the gym people were playing different kinds of sports. This was a great OPPORTUNITY for people to get to know our church.
FRIDAY AUGUST 19TH-20TH DAVID HAD HIS ANNUAL SUMMER DREAMING EVENT. SUMMER DREAMING IS WHEN THE YOUTH GROUP STAYS UP ALL NIGHT DOING VARIOUS ACTIVITIES. DAVID LIKES TO DO THIS AS A LAST SUMMER ACTIVITY BEFORE THE KIDS START GETTING REALLY BUSY WITH SCHOOL. IT'S A LOT OF FUN AND IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO BRING YOUR FRIENDS TO.
Then after second service we invited the college students next door for a BBQ potluck.
That Wednesday was the first AFC service for the semester.
The guest speaker for this retreat was our own preacher, Charlton.
At the retreat, Bella Salazar was baptized.
On Sunday October 2nd, Adriana Peinado and Daniel Montez were baptized.
On October 5th, Brandon Rue was baptized.
On Friday October 14th, David took a bunch of our teenagers up to Pine Springs camp for a youth retreat. Our youth kids were joined by other youth groups from texas and new mexico.
On October 31st, UCC had it's annual fall festival. This event is a family friendly event that has food, drinks, entertainment, and lots of games for kids to win candy.
On Saturday November 5th, AFC had a progressive dinner where college students would go to three different homes for a full course meal. The hosting and meals were provided by members of our UCC communities. This is a great opportunity for our Church community to server and build relationships with our college students.
On Sunday December 5th, UCC had it's annual Stone Soup Fundraiser. This is a fundraiser dedicated to the Youth Group's bible bowl trips. UCC members has helped raise money for the Bible Bowler's to travel to Albuquerque, Arizona, and California for many years. While in California, they also take a trip to the beach and go to one of the Amusement parks in the area.
On Sunday November 13th, UCC had 5 baptisms during 2nd service!
ON WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 16TH, THE YOUTH GROUP HAD THEIR ANNUAL BLESSING BALL EVENT. IN THIS EVENT DAVID HAS A VOLLEY BALL AND WHAT THE TEENS DO IS THEY PASS THIS VOLLEY BALL TO SOMEONE IN THE YOUTH GROUP WHO HAS BEEN A BLESSING IN THEIR LIFE. THIS IS A GREAT WAY FOR WAY FOR TEENAGERS TO REFLECT ON THE PEOPLE GOD HAS BLESSED THEM WITH. DAVID HAS BEEN DOING THIS EVENT EVER SINCE HE STARTED WORKING AT UCC IN 1987.
Back in 2001, I went to my very first blessing ball at Roger and Sharon Odom's house. I was in 7th grade and one of the seniors, Richard Odom, was the 2nd person who received the ball. After he signed it, he looked around the room and to my surprise he said he was going to give the ball to me. I honestly don't remember what he said I was a blessing in his life, but it was one of first major act of kindness where I really felt accepted in the Youth Group. Then at my last blessing ball in 2006, I gave the blessing ball to a 6th grader because I wanted to give the same appreciation and joy that Richard gave to me on that day.