#EPiC15: A Recap

After months of preparation, #EPiC15 is now the winter retreat that was. And it was great. Twelve churches from across the Presbytery of the Alleghenies piled 190 people into the beautiful Camp Allegheny (Ellwood City, PA) for a weekend of fellowship, fun, and life-changing truths. Here are some of the highlights:


Pastor Jonathan Shirk (former Student Ministry Director at North Park EPC, now serving as Senior Pastor in Manheim, PA) joined us to bring the Word in three plenary sessions. He spoke on Becoming Church, Loving Church, and Growing Church. His messages emphasized the importance of finding our identity in the Church, loving Church, and being on mission as the Church. You can watch videos of all three of his messages here: Becoming Church, Loving Church, Growing Church.

We also had breakout sessions from nine different speakers on topics like conversion, diversity, friendship, and Christian music. These breakout sessions afforded great opportunities for specific study and discussion.

Students were also given time each morning to spend alone with God in His Word and to meet together in church groups to dig deeper into the lessons they were learning.


Returning to EPiC Winter Retreat for the third year in a row was Christian worship band Third From First. They did an excellent job of focusing our minds and hearts on the greatness of the King. It was inspiring to hear 150 teenagers lifting their voices to praise Jesus Christ.


We had our first ever EPiC Dodgeball Tournament. A bracket of 16 teams made up of 6 people each was narrowed down until our championship round between The Dads of North Park and Salty Sailors of First Presbyterian. The Dads pulled off the victory and were awarded the trophy.

There were plenty of other activities, like sledding, foosball, basketball, and board games. There was also a time for students to make short videos to show to the entire group. Talk about creativity!


This couldn’t have happened without the hardworking, sacrificial, and Christlike leaders who met Saturday and Sunday morning to pray and read Scripture together. A huge thank you to the leaders!

With the exception of a couple outstanding checks and a couple reimbursements in the process, the financials went pretty smoothly. The books should be closed on the retreat by the end of next week with very few issues.

The leaders from this retreat will meet in the coming weeks to debrief using the feedback forms filled out by each student and begin planning the even better #EPiC16! We will also talk about the possibility of another event before then.

If you are interested in being a part of the next event or next year’s winter retreat, please email gregory.aydt@gmail.com.


Details on EPiC 2015

Here’s some more details on EPiC Winter Retreat 2015 coming up very quickly!
This year we will be learning all about the community of the Church. There will be an emphasis on how the Gospel shapes the Church to be our primary place of belonging and commitment. It’ll be called, “The Fellowship of the King” with Lord of the Rings fonts and colors. “One Church, One Call, One King to Rule them All.” Jonathan Shirk will be our plenary speaker. He’s an excellent speaker with a history in our presbytery. I think this is a perfect theme for a retreat with so many different local churches represented.
Here’s theme material I can email you:
-Our theme and promo picture in many different formats (PowerPoint background, instagram square ratio, postcard ratio, and just a straight slide)
-The words I used for the theme in case you wanted to use them in any way
-The Word document for the personalizable postcard. So you have a couple options when advertising to your own group: you can just write it or put a text box on the jpeg or you can type it into the word doc.
-The simple schedule and packing list and a detailed schedule that we’ve worked out
Here’s what I need from you:
-Deposit (made out to Bethel Church) of $45 per estimated person by January 9th
-Final numbers (the number of people your church will be financially responsible for) by January 19th and participant information (Name, Gender, Grade/Leader)
-Balance due upon arrival (I will reply to your final numbers with a balance due number for you)
Some responsibilities I need filled:
Breakout Sessions: These are very fun hour long sessions with groups of 10-20 students on a more specific topic that accords somehow with our theme for the weekend. They can be discussion-based or more teaching. They can even be hands on. It’s really for leaders to decide how they want it to go. Students will sign up for them during breakfast on Saturday.
      -If you want to do a breakout session, please let me know by January 23rd. Then here’s what I need from you:
            1. Title (try for something catchy to get students to sign up)
            2. Your name and church
            3. The topic (nothing catchy, just what you’ll be talking about in a couple words.
            4. A couple sentences of description
       -I need this information by February 3rd.
Video making: I need someone to be in charge of explaining the rule of making videos then MCing when we show them.
Dodgeball tournament: Does someone want to run the dodgeball tournament? I can still bring the balls and cones.
-Friday night snack: Can a group volunteer to bring a snack for Friday night? It can be simple and quick. It just needs to be plenteous. All expenses are reimbursed and included in the cost of the trip.
-Leaders meetings: Can someone volunteer to pick and read a Psalm or other passage of Scripture and then lead prayer for the leaders meetings? This should not be long.
-Group picture: Does someone have a nice camera for the group picture and will email it to all the leaders very soon after the retreat?
Extra information:
-With the change in venue and the added cost of a speaker (in my opinion, well worth it), the total cost per person will be between $93-$100 depending on the number of people that come.
-Each group leader should bring a walkie talkie. It makes communication extremely easy during the retreat. If anyone needs one, I have an extra.
That’s all I have. Any questions? Comments?
Please sign up for any responsibilities and send final numbers by emailing me: gregory.aydt@gmail.com.

EPiC 2015


It’s coming! EPiC Winter Retreat 2015 is quickly approaching. This past January, we had a great time at Seneca Hills, but with a few more student ministries interested in joining, we have decided to move the retreat to Camp Allegheny in Ellwood City, PA. This will give us tons of space on a beautiful camp to have the greatest time winter can offer. EPiC is an annual winter retreat for 7th-12th graders put on by youth leaders in the Presbytery of the Alleghenies open to any church in the presbytery. It’s usually a very fun time with games, talent show, delicious food, and new friends. And it’s also a great time for growth with passionate worship, challenging teaching, and intriguing discussion in breakout groups.

Use the information below to save the date and spread the word.

Date: February 6-8, 2015
Time: Registration on Friday at 7pm. Departure will end on Sunday at 1130am.
Location: Camp Allegheny, Ellwood City, PA (Directions: http://goo.gl/GTFh0Y)
Cost: We do our best to keep the cost around $90/person. This includes everything for a great weekend. Each participating church will send a deposit of about $45/person by January 9th. We understand this is an estimate on numbers so it doesn’t have to be exact. This just helps determine interest and offsets some of the initial cost. Then in the week after the retreat, you will receive an invoice for the amount remaining to be paid. Each church can subsidize their own costs as they see fit.
Deadline: Final numbers will be due on January 19th.

These are the only details we have worked out so far. What we need from you is to let us know if you’re interested. We will have a planning meeting sometime in November to hash out the rest of the details and responsibilities. So if you want to be a part of that meeting, let us know you’re interested by the end of October by emailing Greg (gregory.aydt@gmail.com). We hope to see you there!

Information Update

I hope that I find you enjoying your summer and striving to find joy in ministering to students in the grace of God.
I apologize that this email is coming so late. I was waiting for some things to drop and busyness to subside.
Here’s some updated information that will also be posted on our blogsite.
1. Lakeside Luau
This event is planned for Sunday, August 24th at Moraine State Park. We’ll be at the Pleasant Valley beach for some swimming, games, and hanging out. Then we’ll head to the Windy Knob Pavilion nearby for dinner, fellowship, and worship.
Here’s some more details:
Cost- $7/person. Bethel will cover the cost of the pavilion ($73) and food (depends on how many people). Then I will let each church know their total after the event and you will send a check to Bethel by three weeks after the event. 
Time- 2pm-7pm. The first couple hours will be unplanned. So feel free to come before or after that time. We will have some organized games at 4pm-5pm, then dinner 5pm-545pm, and then worship from 545pm-630pm. The park closes at sunset, so you can leave at 630pm or stay until the sun goes down.
Responsibilities- Please volunteer.
1. Worship leader (lead music for two songs, pray)
2. Teacher (brief 15-20 minute lesson)
3. Food help (I will be buying and making the food but will need a couple volunteers to help)
4. Game Director- I need someone who can come up with four organized games then delagate the direction of those games to three other people. Then we’ll break into teams and rotate around to the four games.
Let me know ASAP how you can help.
Sign up- I need to have a number from every church participating to use for food. I’ll need this by Thursday, August 21st.
2. Winter Retreat
We are still early in the Winter Retreat 2015 planning. Our first priority will be getting a location. We’re afraid if we add two or three more groups, we will have outgrown Seneca Hills. So we’ve been talking about other locations.
The best one that we’ve come up with so far is Camp Allegheny, run by Salvation Army in Ellwood City. You can check out their website here.
They have plenty of space and good facilities. For two nights, four meals, extra gym time, plus the band fee, maybe a speaker fee, and some other miscellaneous costs, the total would be around $88/person. This is only a few dollars more than it’s been in the past.
I emailed them a few dates, and the only one that works for them is February 6-8. Does this date work for everyone?
My other question is this: We talked about bringing in a speaker from the presbytery instead of having different youth pastors do the plenary sessions. That way the messages would be unified and it wouldn’t distract youth pastors from their own students that weekend. A thought was Bob Stauffer, who is the pastor at Gateway and part time with the presbytery. He is a bit interested if we decide to go that route. But he would also like some input on theme. Youth leaders would still do the breakout sessions. Does this sound good? Or would you be against that?
3. Grand Council Planning Meeting
I knew going into the last planning meeting that it would be very difficult getting everyone together in the summer. We only had three present.
But we will need another meeting in September or October to finish planning the Winter Retreat and another in early January to finalize everything.
Let me throw a few dates out and see what works for everyone…
1. October 15th, noon
2. October 21st, noon
3. October 30th, noon
4. October 18th, Saturday morning, 9am.
Please let me know which one works for you if you are interested in going on the Winter Retreat.
That’s all I’ve got. Any questions? Comments?

The Grand Council Has Been Summoned

Hear ye, hear ye!

The Grand Council of the EPCSM of the PoA has been summoned to meet on the 16th day of July of the year 2014 in the year of our Lord at high noon in the place of the Presbyterian Church of Portersville to discuss matters pertaining to the Lakeside Luau event and the Winter Retreat and for general fellowship and encouragement. Lunch shall be provided for a fee of $5/person. Spread this most excellent news!

Wondering who’s on the Grand Council? If you work with students at a church in the Presbytery of the Alleghenies, you’re in! Don’t be thrown by our fancy name. Instead, accept that you probably are rather grand and join in!

When: July 16th, 12pm

Where: Presbyterian Church of Portersville (1297 Perry Hwy, Portersville, PA)

How much: $5 for lunch (receipts can be provided if desired)

Why: To discuss the Lakeside Luau event at the end of August and the 2015 Winter Retreat

RSVP: Greg Aydt, Email: gregory.aydt@gmail.com. Call/text: 724.698.4264

Please spread the word to other EPC youth workers in the presbytery.

PS. Is this too far for you to go to network with other student ministry workers in the presbytery? I agree! So I highly encourage you to take charge of gathering student ministry workers near you for your own network. If you need contact info or help, let me (Greg) know!

Combined Presbytery 30 Hour Famine

If you’ve ever been part of a well planned 30 Hour Famine you know the level of impact it can have on teens, as well as how much work is involved. Instead of doing 100% of the planning ourselves for individual events, lets get together to share the burden and make a bigger better 30 Hour Famine. If you are interested, please email DustinLeimgruber@gmail.com with at least the following information:
Possible dates:

Church location:

Willing to host?
Activities you’d like to run:

An Invite to “CHRIST IS ENOUGH” Praise Night!

Hello fellow EPC Brothers and Sisters!
We wanted to invite everyone to our night of Praise and Worship! The night consists of Contemporary Christ-centered songs, modernized hymns, and a “Talk(Message)” from Pastor Bobby Brown as well! We really desire and pray that the students and leaders leave with “Christ being enough” in their lives! We would love you all here!
All students are welcome from 6th-12th grade! So please come join us!
*There will also be fellowship and refreshments afterward!
Feel free to contact:
Brian Ham 412-367-5000 Ext. 233 or (404)271-3526