'Anchored' for 50 years Ministry: Hampstead Youth for Christ will mark a half-century of helping young people through a Christian perspective at a celebration on Sunday.

March 05, 1997|By Jennifer Vick | Jennifer Vick,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

"Geared to the times and anchored to the Rock" has been its motto for dealing with the problems of youth -- including everything from smoking in bathrooms to drug, alcohol and weapon violations.

Hampstead Youth for Christ will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Sunday at Martin's in Westminster. The chapter was founded by Earl Schultz and is now directed by his son, David.

"Thousands of people have gone through the program and have gotten their Christian nurturing with Youth for Christ," said David Schultz, 43, about the inter-denominational program. "[Sunday will be] a time of remembering the past and seeing what God is doing today be challenged for the future."

Schultz defined Youth for Christ as an "evangelical outreach to children who do not normally go to church." There are 230 Youth for Christ chapters in the United States and 100 ministries around the world, he said. In 1947, the elder Schultz brought together youths from southern Pennsylvania, Carroll County and northern Baltimore County to form the Hampstead chapter, which is a chartered affiliate of International Youth for Christ. Run by 15 volunteers, the youth program has expanded from the Bible clubs of the 1950s to the campus life programs of today.

The HYFC consists of 50 youths, ages 12 to 18, who meet weekly in members' homes. Until the 1970s, these meetings were known as Bible club meetings, and rallies were held every Saturday night.

Joyce Lehmer participated in the rallies when she was involved with HYFC in the 1950s.

"The music was fantastic. The young people packed the place. The challenge of the club meetings and Saturday night rallies and their messages, most assuredly changed the direction of my life," said Lehmer, a retired Baltimore County high school teacher who lives in Arcadia.

A popular event at the rallies were quizzes in which teams were tested on their knowledge of Scripture. Points were given to the first person with the correct answer. Lehmer and her team went to several international quiz competitions, held in Ocean City.

In the 1960s and 1970s, rallies and hayrides drew young people. In the 1980s, groups were sent abroad on missions to help the poor. Last year, a group of six teens went to Mexico.

Scott Gribben never attended a mission, but the 32-year-old resident of Westminster was a member of HYFC while in high school from 1979 to 1983 and was a staff volunteer for 10 years.

"I was able to meet a lot of friends and was given a lot of solid direction from leaders regarding God and my faith," Gribben said.

Gribben and his wife, Michelle, who also has worked as a HYFC volunteer, will attend the banquet on Sunday, along with other Hampstead chapter members and international members from as far away as Alaska and California.

But the highlight of the event will likely be remarks from Earl Schultz, 72, who has been battling esophageal cancer since being diagnosed with the disease nearly two years ago.

Pub Date: 3/05/97

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