Fond memories draw Richardson back for youth ministry

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2000

John Richardson had fond memories of Natchez from his first trip to the city, so he came back this year to spend a second summer working with youth at Jefferson Street Methodist Church.

&uot;I was really drawn to the relationships, I had formed here before and I knew it would be a fun and neat group,&uot; he said.

As a summer youth worker, Richardson, 21, of Hattiesburg, said his job was to support the youth ministry and organize youth programs.

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He held the same position three years ago and has learned some things he likes about working with youth.

&uot;I like their energy and curiosity and their eagerness to be your friend,&uot; he said.

And because of his young age, Richardson said he is able to be a leader and a facilitator as well as a friend to the teenagers.

He also wants those in the group to be friends.

&uot;The idea is to find hope and peace through relationships with each other,&uot; he said.

Richardson said he got the position with Jefferson Street Methodist Church because he knew church member Judge John Hudson through statewide Methodist church events.

Richardson graduated from Birmingham Southern College in Alabama this year and will begin studying for a divinity degree at Emory University in Atlanta this fall.

Richardson said he has developed a &uot;sense of purpose&uot; that a seminary degree would be a good direction for his life.

He is also interested in social services or chaplaincy.

&uot;I come from a family of a long-line of Methodist ministers, so that did feel like a natural option from early on,&uot;&160;he said.

&uot;I knew that it would be interesting and open some doors into several areas I’m interested in,&uot; Richardson said.

He thinks his strength in ministry will be to help people find ways to be faithful.

He enjoys to have that develop among the youth at Jefferson Street.

&uot;(I enjoy having) meaningful experiences and relationship where people have a chance to act on their faith and reach out beyond themselves in the youth group,&uot; he said.