Holy Redeemer Parish photo
Youths gather for pancakes and fellowship in North Bend.
Holy Redeemer Parish photo
Youths gather for pancakes and fellowship in North Bend.

NORTH BEND — Holy Redeemer Parish recently completed its fourth year of hosting Friday pancakes with parish youth. Former youth ministers Nathan Helland and David Johnson started the tradition, and chose a time that wouldn’t compete with sports and school. Johnson continues to come in early to cook pancakes for the teenagers, who begin arriving at 6:45 a.m., before their school day starts.

“The students enjoy the gatherings and can make plans for the weekend as well as stay informed of upcoming events,” Johnson said. “Prayer and reflection are surprisingly well received at 7 a.m. A strong feeling of community and fellowship has grown from the start.”

Johnson said the youths were willing to come to the parish at the early hour because they enjoyed the friendship and fellowship.

“I love the fact that if I get up just a little bit earlier, I can spend time with good friends and good people,” one student said.

Current youth minister Ann Delong was surprised to see how alert the children art, despite the early hour. She shows small video clips, reviews the pope’s latest messages, and covers apologetics topics.

“We also touch on hot topics that affect the students in their daily lives,” Delong said. “When one of their classmates died, we focused several sessions on bullying and teenage suicide. Mainly the meetings give the youth an opportunity to stay connected to each other and the Church.”

The gatherings last for about 45 minutes and then the young people are dropped off at the local high school.