After 21 years serving as our youth minister, Jeff Marquardt is retiring. On August 30th, we celebrated our time with him by hearing stories from two generations of youth group participants. We laughed and cried together as we thanked Jeff for all he has done.
I was in Woodland's youth group for seven years. I made some of my best friends in youth group, and I am lucky to count many of them as friends to this day. We played ridiculous games together, since Jeff seemed to delight in forcing us into awkward situations. We learned about the Bible together, since Jeff was passionate about making our faith our own, not just a habit acquired from our parents. From Jeff, I learned that my Christian faith can be both fun and serious, individual and communal.
Recently, I had the privilege of teaching Bible study to the youth group on Wednesday nights. Jeff sat in with us, and it was a wonderfully weird feeling to teach the man who taught me. Jeff very much deserves a rest, and I wish him the best as he serves Woodland in new ways in the coming years. But I'm glad he was my youth minister, and I will remember everything he led--GASS, HOPE, World Changers, Bible Study--with fondness. Thank you, Jeff.
- Tricia M.