Lifting Bridgeport’s Cross In A Virtual World

Ainsley Ross

Ainsley Ross honored with Denman Award for recreating important camp experience despite times of COVID-19

Ainsley Ross, a member of the youth group at Arapaho UMC, was disappointed when camp at Bridgeport was cancelled this past summer due to COVID-19. Worshipping at the cross, connecting with old and new friends, and spending time learning about God in the beautiful Bridgeport environment would leave a hole in the summer for many youth from around the North Texas Conference.

Ross decided to try and replace some of what would be missing by creating a virtual morning watch – the traditional morning prayer and reflection time held at the start of each camp day. She came to Rev. Maggie Proshek, the Associate Pastor for Children, Youth and Families at Arapaho UMC, with the idea that she would create an Instagram account and invite campers to share devotionals, stories, songs, skits, scripture reading and anything else on their hearts to bring them closer together and recreate some of that Bridgeport feeling.

The account now has hundreds of followers, campers from all over North Texas coming together in prayer and worship, like they have every single summer. Ross coordinates volunteers to lead morning watch every week as well as edits and posts their recordings to @morning_watch20.

For her efforts, Ross was the North Texas Conference youth recipient of the Harry Denman Award for Evangelism. The award program honors United Methodists in each annual conference whose exceptional ministry of evangelism brings people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.

Ross has adapted to the new needs of ministry apart, creating and growing an innovative way to maintain a community of United Methodists across the conference. Her loving kindness for the students who attend Bridgeport, who are experiencing grief over not being able to go this summer, in addition to her sharing her faith with all people, has created this incredible opportunity for young people to connect through their love of Christ.

She has created this opportunity for herself and other youth to be able to be creative and share with their peers and counselors. She has leaned into a community that has already been established through love of God and neighbor and the sharing of faith to all people that is the Bridgeport experience, and made it even more accessible during these times where we all feel separated.

Through this ministry, Ross’ idea is clearly showing that all are loved and cared for always. It is showing that all have worth and are capable and encouraged to share their faith with others, no matter their age. She demonstrates to her peers that the community they have experienced is still that community they love, even when we are apart.


Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2020