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Kids say goodbye to Christian Youth Center director

Peter Vienne III steps down to accept new job

Published: Friday, April 4, 2014 9:20 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, April 6, 2014 7:53 a.m. CDT
(Jeanne Millsap – Shaw Media Correspondent)
Pete Vienne shoots the breeze with kids before his last meeting as director of the Christian Youth Center of Morris on Thursday night.

MORRIS – Christian Youth Center Director Peter Vienne III made an announcement at a meeting last week that no one liked.

He is stepping down from his position at the center, effective immediately. On April 1, Vienne became the associate pastor and youth director at Three Rivers Church in Plainfield.

His last Christian Youth Center of Morris meeting was Thursday.

“This place is going to keep going with flying colors,” he told the group of junior high and high school students gathered Thursday. “This place is yours. It has always been yours. These doors are open to you, and this is what we need to be praying about – for God to send us a new leader.”

“He’s been a really good leader here,” said Winter Burnett, a Lisbon senior. “He’s a really cool person, and I think God’s leading him where he will be in his next job.”

“I think he’s a really loving guy,” said Paige McManus, a Morris sophomore. “He loves the Lord a lot, and he is trying to teach the kids about God. He has really good sermons, too.”

The board is discussing how it wants to handle getting a new director and may wait until after summer break to bring in someone new, CYCM board member and longtime volunteer Dana Morse said. Until then, board members and the teachers will lead the meetings.

“Peter has really had a huge passion to serve God and young people,” Morse said. “I told him quite a while ago that this was his calling but that he wasn’t going to stay here. He has done this magnificently.”

Vienne has been with CYCM for six years – three as a volunteer and another three as director. He completed in December his Master of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

“I feel we’ve had a great mission here to give kids a fun, safe place to hang out and hear the gospel,” he said after Thursday’s meeting. “But even before divinity school, I knew I was being led into pastoral ministry. I will be teaching God’s word more in-depth. That’s more where my gift is.”

Vienne described his stay at CYCM as “unbelievable” and said while he has learned a lot during that time, he hopes he has taught the teenage members as much. He said he’s worked hard to develop relationships with them and to be consistent with that.

CYCM board chairman Art DeGraaf said Vienne has done a good job as director.

“I see the kids needing a place like this where they can connect to something bigger than themselves,” he said. “Pete cares about them. We’re meant to be connected. People aren’t meant to be alone.”

Vienne told the group Thursday he would drop by now and then. He and his family plan to continue living in Lisbon.

“These past six years have been such an amazing blessing,” he said. “I love all the kids I’ve met, and I guess I wouldn’t change anything.”

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