Identity, Belonging, and

March 3, 2022

By Lisa Collins, Youth Coordinator

A person’s understanding of life’s purpose can change over time and no one is more furiously engaged in figuring out the meaning of their life than a teenager. That’s why Youth Ministry at Galilee called a time out from social distractions and took our members on an all-day woodlands retreat on Monday, Feb 21. Our mission? To spend the day in conversation and contemplation over the issues of identity, belonging, and purpose. 

Because it was President’s Day, it was a day off school. Teens could have opted to do any number of things with this time. But 26 students and a number of intrepid adults chose to come together at Camp Highroad near Leesburg to ask themselves serious questions: Are we part of the ongoing plot of what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in this world? What is our purpose in God’s story?

Galilee Youth joined teens from Oakdale Church in Olney, MD (led by Galilee veteran Andrew Hall and his wife Rachel) and nearby churches Herndon UMC and Centreville UMC to talk about our identity as children of God, how we belong to the family of Christ, and our purpose as a part of God’s story.

It wasn’t all serious discussion—though Andrew Hall did lead off with a typically philosophical question about the “Ship of Theseus.” We opened and closed the day by singing praise songs and inviting God to be a part of our day and carry us forward and there were games (ask us about Rock, Paper, Scissors tag!), crafts, and hiking. Lunch and dinner were also served, so there was plenty of time to relax and make friends.

Although masks were still being worn, a daylong retreat felt so normal! The weather cooperated with us and though for weeks we had been enduring bitter cold, at Camp Highroad we were shedding our winter coats and enjoying actual sunshine.

Figuring out where we belong and how to fit in to a fragmented, anxious world can feel like a daily occurrence. It certainly is not a one and done event. The young people of our church were energized by this retreat and Youth Ministry looks forward to sponsoring further such events soon. 

Our kids need to hear the message of Ephesians 2:19, that:

“I am no longer called an outcast and a wanderer, but a citizen with God’s people, a member of God’s holy family, and a resident of His household.”

Youth@Galilee is an inclusive group of 6 to 12th grade students. We would love to have others join us any time.  Check out how to get involved at or contact


It wasn’t all serious discuss for Lisa and the youth. They managed to get some crafts made, too.