Review of Nightwatch NYC
By Brian Lyght, St. Michael and All Angels, Baltimore
Two weeks ago, I and about 50 other youth went on a pilgrimage to New York City. We went to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for an event called Nightwatch. It was my first time going to the event and I am very happy to report that I had a great time! When we first got to the cathedral, I was expecting a very loose program with not a lot of planning, but I was presently surprised to find a very well thought-out and planned evening. What we did first was gather around and introduced each other and had a general overview of how the evening was going to go. Then one of my favorite parts of the program started, a lecture about the organ made by the church organist. During the class, we learned about how an organ worked, heard many different types of organ sounds, and we learned about different styles of organ music. After that we were split up into two groups and one group went and did a scavenger hunt around the church. I thought that this activity was very well thought out and had us exploring around the cathedral. After that, my group went to a labyrinth and explored it. Then we were given time to reflect and pray about stuff. Afterwards we had a candlelight reflection period and were able to sit around the church. Throughout the evening, there was a band that played music. Some of the songs that they played were upbeat and some were very slow songs. I quite enjoyed the different instruments that they had on stage. Later that night, we had a midnight Eucharist service which I was an acolyte for. Finally the last part of the evening was spent getting ready for bed.
Then the next morning, Kate surprised us with fresh New York style bagels and some juice. After breakfast, we were able to explore Central Park. Having never been to Central Park, I enjoyed getting to take pictures with friends in the morning when really no one was around. I loved the walk that Kate took us on. I also loved visiting a second Episcopal church while we were in Manhattan. Looking at both churches, you could really see the differences between the two. St. John The Divine was a very large and grand worship spaces, whereas St. Thomas was much cozier and more compact. St. John The Divine had these large arches and towering ceilings so tall that Lady Liberty could stand up tall with her torch. Whereas at St. Thomas, the ceilings were much smaller and it had many fewer arches and columns. I thought that it was a great idea to take the group too two totally contrasting worship spaces. After we stopped by St. Thomas, we split up into our smaller group by church. Since I was the only one from St. Michael and All Angels (Baltimore), I went with Kate and some others who were the only ones from their churches. We walked around Times Square trying to find a ramen place. When we finally DID get to the ramen place, it was SO GOOD. I got the dumplings and they were DIVINE! During lunch, I was able to make connections with people I would have never been able to talk to, which honestly was the theme of the entire trip. Whether I was on the bus, or during the scavenger hunt, or stopping in a souvenir shop on the street buying my 106th hat, I was able to see people I had never met before and become good friends with them. I was also able to strengthen bonds that I had with my friends. Overall, I think that Nightwatch was a great experience where I was able to grow more as both a Christian and a person. I will most defiantly be looking forward to 2021 Nightwatch and cannot wait to register for it!