Rust Hosts Youth Faith/Life Balance Summer Program


By: Matthew Johnson, Connectional Ministries and Communications Assistant

This summer, on the campus of Rust College in Holly Springs, youth will be learning to keep God at the center of their life and all their future endeavors. Rust will be hosting the Youth Theology Institute. This free summer program, funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc., provides high school juniors and seniors a space to grow and mature theologically.

Rev. Sapada Thomas

Rev. Sapada Thomas, Rust College Chaplain, is the new director of the Youth Theological Institute. Here he explains the objectives of the summer program.

“The goal of the Youth Theological Institute is to allow high school students to explore their beliefs about God, and how those beliefs impact their vocation and community service,” said Thomas. “Whatever vocation they decide to go into they can be a vessel for Christ.”

Thomas is inspired by the success the program has had in the past and is looking to have a big year in 2022. He wants to see a significant turn out after having reduced numbers because of COVID-19 and has set a goal to have 100 students this year. The program is open to all high school juniors and seniors regardless of denomination or race.
Students from YTI participate in worship. Photo courtesy of Rev. Sapada Thomas

“The program has been successful, but the last couple of years COVID-19 has slowed us down,” said Thomas.

The Youth Theology Institute is funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1937 for the promotion and support of religious, educational or charitable purposes. Throughout its history, the endowment has sought to nurture the human spirit, intellect and character.

There is time for youth to sign up. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2022. Those interested can sign up here.

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