Church sets youth event

Published 10:05 pm Thursday, August 7, 2014

A church in Whaleyville hopes to reach as many young people as possible with a youth conference set for Friday and Saturday.

Pentecostal Followers of Christ has dubbed the event Built to Last. It aims to teach young people how to withstand the negative influences of the street, said Raymeika Byrum, secretary to Evangelist Lakitra Claude.

Claude started the youth conference five years ago.

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“I know right now a lot of young people are giving up on life and turning to suicide, and turning to drugs and prostitution,” Byrum said.

“We are pretty much telling them they can be built to last — they don’t have to turn to the street life. They can stand up and live the good life.”

On Friday, Claude will lead a “pep rally” from 7:30 p.m. “We get the young people amped up for the school year,” Byrum said.

“She’s (Claude) been like a big sister to a lot of the young women in the church. She’s been a big encouragement in keeping us uplifted in the body of Christ.”

Saturday’s program starts with a cookout at 2 p.m. “We’ll play games and learn about teamwork, uplifting one another in prayer, and things of that nature,” according to Byrum.

At 7 p.m., the guest speaker on Saturday will be Brandon Lightfoot, assistant pastor at a Chesapeake church with which the Suffolk church is in fellowship.

“He’s a young preacher — married with two children,” Byrum said. “He’s a role model for young guys coming to the church.”

Lightfoot teaches young men that “street life isn’t a good life,” Byrum said. “They need to focus on school and getting a career. He’s a really powerful young man.”

During breakout sessions, children will be broken up into age groups to discuss topics relevant to them, Byrum said.

“We’ll give them the tools they need to get through the school year, in terms of bullying and peer pressure — how to stand up and help their friends if they are being bullied,” she said.

In past years, the youth conference has seen between 50 and 75 attendees, Byrum said. “I really would like more young people to start coming,” she added. “That’s why I started to reach out.”