Christmas Institute: Living Through Shadows!


Leadership from CI 2015 gather during Banquet Night. Learn more about this year’s CI at!

By Anthony Sy with Denise Belista | Photos by Jesse N. Love

Young people at CI 2015 are closing family groups with a role-playing game.

As we walk through our faith journeys, the people, cultures, and societies around us constantly influence us. They may affect our actions, thoughts, and attitudes towards things we experience as we go about our lives. This year at Christmas Institute, we are referring to the influential nature of the things that surround our lives as shadows. We are challenging the campers to identify and reflect on the shadows that play a role in their faith journey.

While ‘shadows’ may have a negative connotation at first, we believe the components that make up our lives lay on a spectrum: some beneficial, and some detrimental.

Ultimately, the different shadows that we may be influenced by are only part of our faith journey. Our goal is to find God’s shadow and learn what kind of person God wants us to be. Through this process, we will be able to step out of the shadows and into the light so that we may be a beacon to others and the shadows they are in are temporary.

The Rev. David Valera illustrates how we are bound by our faith at CI 2015.

On December 26-30, we will explore this shadow concept and look both inward and outward in order to help the campers take a different perspective on their lives, in relation to their faith.

Christmas Institute (C.I.) originated in the Philippines through the Methodist Church and began in 1921. In 1981, C.I. was brought to the States and now there are five locations across the country where C.I. is held every year. Christmas Institute aims to help youth, grades 7-12, grow in Christ by engaging them in group and individual spiritual practices like praise & worship, bible study, and Olympic Fest (team-based games).

Young people at CI 2015 serenade the crowd during Banquet night.
Young people at CI 2015 serenade the crowd during Banquet night.


Christmas Institute: Transforming me for the path that lies ahead

By Casey Germino

Casey Germino serves as a Leader-In-Training for Christmas Institute - PNW.
Casey Germino serves as a Leader-In-Training for Christmas Institute – PNW.

“For the past five years, CI-PNW continues to shape who I am as an individual from the experiences that are set before me in this program. The bond that I have developed with other campers has edified me to understand the potential that the church has in not only creating friendships, but also gaining different insights from hearing about other individuals’ lives.

With the CI campers, I was able to undergo my own form of catharsis as I gained the realization that we all face the same kind of struggles from the daily pressures and endeavors in achieving what we desire in life. Throughout my CI experience, it has influenced me to take chances, not be ashamed of who I am as an individual, learn from each experience, and never regret the choices that I have made because the deeds that I have acted upon form who I am today.

I decided to attend CI this year as a second-year leader-in-training because of the insights I gained during my previous five years and utilize my experiences at CI to minister to others after camp by providing them with the valuable insights of the experiences I have gained as a part of this program. By acting as a leader, I aim to fully utilize this experience to gain the skills necessary to help guide others along the path to strengthen their spirituality with God and to make the camper’s time at CI unforgettable.”

Visit to learn more about Christmas Institute in the Pacific Northwest.

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