youngadult Blog

April 1, 2020
Tagged in: Young Adults

Overwhelmed. Upended. Empty. The last few days have left me, at best, despondent about my life as a chaplain. All of the routines of my daily life, all of the patterns of the community I serve, all of the systems my ministry engages have fallen apart. Figuring out best steps forward for my community balancing a complex reality of medical and mental health needs with the dynamic of social distancing and no group gatherings. Trying, and often failing, to take some personal inventory of my own medical and mental health in the midst of all of the above. I had not sat down to journal in few days and when I finally did everything started as a near useless stream of consciousness. After a few pages I had gotten back to the basics of what campus ministry is about.
 
Campus Ministry is a space of near perpetual church planting. We may get that occasional year or two where a super solid group shows up and stays but eventually, we all know we are going to be down to a handful of students and building things up from scratch again. Most of the time this is based upon some really fickle realities... my group size has been cut in half because a library study group had a falling out, because the fine arts department moved their standard rehearsal night, and then there is the ever common moment when the entre group goes on study abroad or graduates at the same time. In Campus Ministry we are used to things falling apart because of the stupid stuff of student life… various things that we are all prepared to roll our eyes at and then regroup. 
 
We are not, however, used to having everything upended by something that is not fickle. The complete upending of all our ministries at once by something completely out of our control, something that impacts the entire globe, is unprecedented. We cannot roll our eyes in the midst of this and just move on, this is not just one of those things about student life that happens, the whole process that normally happens when my ministry is upended does not initiate. This does not mean, however, that the basics of what campus ministry is about are not still in play.
 
When we start to gather again in the fall, or perilously maybe next spring, and things recalibrate to whatever the new normal will be... when that happens I am sure of one thing... we are church planters, we are community builders, and what we do is regroup and restart from square one with an ever shifting demographic. For me, at least, the seriousness of the overall problem, far afield from the things that normally disrupt the frail framework on which I build my ministry, was making me blind to the fact that, with a recognizable whole new set of variables, that the core of what is going on here is still what we do as Campus Ministers. This is what my fellow chaplains have supported me in doing for basically a decade now, and what we will continue to support each other in doing. 
 
Realizing this is what I, at least, needed to be able to restart and work my way out of the feelings of being overwhelmed, upended, and empty that our current situation had left me in. Once I was able to see the situation from this angle, I could plan from that small level of a pattern I am used to cycling through. It was a matter of realizing that this is what we are about, if on an unprecedented scale, that let me take that first step forward amidst the mire. I share it in hopes that it will assist others in taking those first steps as well knowing that together, by grace, the work that needs to be done will be completed. 

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Written by The Rev. Benjamin Garren, Chaplain at the Episcopal Campus Ministry at University of Arizona

Overwhelmed. Upended. Empty. The last few days have left me, at best, despondent about my life as a chaplain. All of the routines of my daily life, all of the patterns of the community I serve, all of the systems my ministry engages have fallen...
March 27, 2020
Tagged in: Young Adults

I am a priest, a partner, a parent, and a person.  I usually introduce myself that way when I write letters introducing myself. But right now, I feel like my vocation is both expanded to include kindergarten and preschool teacher, cafeteria worker, mental health worker, and completely paired down to beloved Child of God.  

In the two weeks since we started quarantine/social distancing/ whatever we are calling flattening the curve - I have found myself listening to the experts, respecting the authority of my governor, and heading the guidance of my bishop. I serve in Richmond, Virginia, in a 3-point call as an associate parish priest who is responsible for our campus ministry at Virginia Commonwealth University, who is also responsible for our weekly ministry of healing hospitality and wholeness. On one level or another, everything I do has come to a screeching halt since March 13th. But on another, I am still doing all the things that God has called me to do- albeit in a new way.   

I keep coming back to the labyrinth and pandemic. Being a huge fan of walking labyrinths, actually have one tattooed on my right foot, I have taken to heart the history of the Chartres Labyrinth in particular.  The labyrinth built during the 13th century, provided was a way for Christians to go on Pilgrimage without endangering themselves during the crusades. (I am not saying that we should have ever been waging crusades over the Holy Land, to begin with- but I digress). I think that we are in a period much like the deans who designed the Chartres Labyrinth. We are trying to envision a way to develop our new ways of encountering the Divine with tools that are known and tools that are new. 

We seem to be at the “throw the spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” time of this crisis.  It looks like everyone who can afford it has a YouTube channel, Facebook live stream, digital presence.  While this is great for the most part, it also seems like we are saturating the market.  Adapting to new realities is where my college students have been amazing. They know what they want, and they know what they need, and they ignore the rest.  

These students went on spring break the week that coronavirus made landfall in the US. They celebrated the extension of that break but now are dealing with a whole new virtual world of education for which they didn’t sign up. They are navigating it surprisingly well. They are reaching out to resources, like their teachers, their counseling center on campus, and they are using their chaplains to help connect them one to another. Now I am not saying that there aren’t students I am worried about, who aren’t sleeping well, aren’t eating right, aren’t living in sketchy situations. But I am probably worried about the same students for the same reasons when there isn’t a pandemic if I’m honest.  

Here is the part of the pandemic time, by which I am pleasantly surprised. Had you asked me what aspect of the community/communities I serve is the most essential two months ago, (which is I acknowledge a flawed question on many levels), I would have said our Sunday congregation.  

They are the members of the vestry, they are the ones who pledge and give, and they are the ones who keep the lights on in the building. They are the parish. But the truth is that the ministry and mission of the Church that I serve depend upon the students. Especially the feeding ministry that happens every Friday - while it is led by a core group of amazing volunteers who are part of that Sunday crowd - had to reimagine its whole process when the college shut down its physical campus. The students are the ones who keep us going.  

I already knew subconsciously because every summer and every break, we have a shortage of volunteers, but we can make it work with barebones skeleton crews for a few weeks at a time. But this pandemic has slapped me upside the head in the understanding that in reality, the Church depends on young people to run it.  

They are doing it - they aren’t doing it the same way that previous generations have done it.  They might not even call themselves Christian. But like I say every week when I welcome our volunteer crew - you don’t have to be a Christian to cut a carrot, but you help us live into our identity by showing up.  You support us to seek and serve Christ in all persons loving our neighbor as ourselves and pursuing justice, freedom, and peace. The Church is not solely those who worship on Sundays.  That is what I am reminded of this afternoon as we try to figure out how to run our meal program tomorrow.  

They are doing it differently - they are on the zoom calls, they are in the hangouts, they are texting and calling and checking in as best they can. They are leading by example, and we all should be following them.  Well, maybe not the ones who aren’t sleeping or eating well or setting healthy emotional boundaries. But we should walk this labyrinth set before us, and we will find that at the center of it all is Christ.  God has been in this, providing us a path to follow and allowing us to go into the world being Christ to one another. 

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The Rev. Kimberly Rowles Reinholz serves as the Associate for Service, Campus Ministry and Pastoral Care at Grace & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Richmond VA.

I am a priest, a partner, a parent, and a person.  I usually introduce myself that way when I write letters introducing myself. But right now, I feel like my vocation is both expanded to include kindergarten and preschool teacher, cafeteria worker...
March 26, 2020
Tagged in: Young Adults

Over the last few weeks, as the COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly throughout the world, we have all had to adapt to a new kind of ministry. Our worship, conversations, and planning have shifted to online formats. We have had to get creative about how we can stay connected, even as we are physically separate from one another. 

Brené Brown has been ringing in my ears this last week as I have been talking to campus ministers, young adult ministers, and colleagues. She says, “We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” So as we socially distance ourselves, as we separate ourselves from one another in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and spread the virus to those most vulnerable, how can we stay connected? 

Through all the conversations I have had this week, people have talked about and celebrated ways that they have had to try new ways of doing ministry. They have mourned what we have lost from being together as we cannot do the passing of the peace, play games, pray and sing in the same space, and eat with one another. AND they have also noticed new life and new ministry in the midst of this by:

  • creating small groups online
  • continuing food pantry distribution in a safe way for young adults and families that are food insecure
  • helping young adults find housing and possible job connections
  • reallocating funds that would have been spent on programming to an emergency fund for food, housing, and basic necessities
  • sending letters and postcards to people in their community
  • connecting with alumni who have joined in their online gatherings
  • sharing tea, arts and crafts, prayer, joy and sorrow over Zoom calls
  • connecting with other ministers online for support and guidance
  • trying to figure out how to help people celebrate graduations online

While these are difficult times, while each day seems to throw something new at us, while we are trying to manage the best we can as our rhythm of life has been thrown out of balance, we are still connecting. We are still coming together. We are still able to share joy and sorrow, ask for help and offer help, give each other permission to mourn a loss, and pray. We are praying for the medical workers and researchers, for those who are sick from any ailment, for those who are helping, for those who are in unsafe home situations in this time of shelter-in-place, for those who we are far from, for our communities and for our family and friends.

In this time of great change, let us now forget that we are meant to be connected. When two or three of us are gathered, God is there. God is here. Thanks be to God. 

Over the last few weeks, as the COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly throughout the world, we have all had to adapt to a new kind of ministry. Our worship, conversations, and planning have shifted to online formats. We have had to get creative...
December 7, 2018
Tagged in: Young Adults

The church spends much time and effort lamenting that young adults aren’t coming to church and talking amongst itself about what to do about it. The church says it wants young adults to be a part of the life of the church, but many aren’t quite sure where to begin.

As with anything we do as a church, begin with relationship.

If you want to grow any ministry within your church, you start by building relationships, talking with the people you are feeling called to serve in a particular way, finding out what they desire and what they have to give, and learning more about them as children of God. Jesus showed us this time and again as he built relationships with the disciples and with those around him.

Ministry does not begin with a program or a curriculum or the newest tech. Ministry begins with relationship. It begins by getting to know the person in front of you and who God is in their life. It begins by praying together, spending time with God together, and wondering about where God is calling you further into the Gospels and into discipleship.

“If we lose a generation of young people in the church, it won’t be because we didn’t entertain them. It will be because we didn’t dare to do something meaningful with the Gospel in light of the world we live in.” – Shane Claiborne

As a church, we have to stop crying and start building relationships. Build the relationships and listen to what they are yearning for, what they desire to offer, and what you might create together. Below are some thoughts about where you might start. Keep in mind that young adults do not have disposable income, so find ways to fund the ministries and engage in events that are free!

Build Relationships with and among Young Adults

  • Recognize and invite young adults to connect and build relationships with one another and with people from the church.
  • Offer one-off or annual invitations based on young adult interests, community events/context, etc.
  • Fit events into a larger ministry context. There needs to be a “why” beyond “because it’s nice”.

Build Spiritual Growth and Leadership with Young Adults

  • Create small group opportunities and experiences that can be touchstones in the midst of life’s busy and bustle
  • Disciple persons new to the tradition. Be mindful that they are coming for relationships first and tradition second.
  • Create opportunities for young adults to know their strengths and grow where they feel God calling them.
  • Worship and pray together, inviting young adults to create and lead the liturgies. 

Work together

  • Find ways to intentionally carve out space in the life of the church where young adults can play a central role.
  • Work to create the culture of welcoming a diversity of gifts instead of slotting young adults into “traditional roles” like helping with youth or yardwork.
  • Build capacity within the church around what elders can do (mentor, listen, chat) as opposed to focusing on generation gaps.

Serve the community

  • Identify your community’s gifts first to see what you have to offer. Then, through investigation and conversation, discern some places where your gifts might meet needs in the community.
  • Utilize both programs and campaigns in the ways that you engage with the community. Invite folks in and send folks out.
  • Invite young adult leaders and community members to meet church neighbors, asking the question, “What can we do to bless the neighborhood our church lives in?”

Have Fun Together

  • Find ways to have fun together! Go to the movies, enjoy dinner, play mini golf, go to concerts, attend a play, or gather for a game night.

Adapted from 30 Ideas for Young Adult Ministry written by The Rev. Mary Cat Young, Mr. Steve Mullaney, and The Rev. Shannon Kelly

The church spends much time and effort lamenting that young adults aren’t coming to church and talking amongst itself about what to do about it. The church says it wants young adults to be a part of the life of the church, but many aren’t quite...
October 23, 2018

“Voting and participation in our government is a way of participating in our common life
and that is a Christian obligation.”
-Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

The Faith Formation Department and the Office of Government Relations Episcopal Public Policy Network have teamed up to help you think about how to #VoteFaithfully and help others do the same. Check out our recent webinar

And, all of the fantastic information!

#VoteFaithfully Toolkit 
https://cqrcengage.com/episcopal/file/euXNP1gXXKY/VoteFaithfully_Toolkit%202018.pdf
En español “Herramientas para votar fielmente”:https://cqrcengage.com/episcopal/file/ErHyMcEm8oH/Vote%20Faithfully%20Spanish%20Toolkit%202018.pdf

Register to Vote
https://vote.gov/

Get Ready to Vote
https://www.rockthevote.org/voting-information/

Find Where you Can Vote
https://www.rockthevote.org/voting-information/find-your-polling-place/

Join Lawyers & Collars
http://lawyersandcollars.org/

The Office of Government Relations website
https://advocacy.episcopalchurch.org/

Join The Episcopal Public Policy Network
https://advocacy.episcopalchurch.org/app/register?2&m=29629

Follow us @TheEPPN on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Order the “I’m and Episcopalian and I Voted” Stickers
Write to Alan at ayarborough@episcopalchurch.org for instructions.

Civil Discourse Curriculum
 https://advocacy.episcopalchurch.org/resources

Search Episcopal Church Policies in the Archives of the Episcopal Church
You can search by keyword or resolution number for both General Convention and Executive Council policies. For General Convention: https://episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/acts/acts_search.pl and Executive Council: https://www.episcopalarchives.org/e-archives/executive_council/

“Voting and participation in our government is a way of participating in our common life and that is a Christian obligation.” -Presiding Bishop Michael Curry The Faith Formation Department and the Office of Government Relations Episcopal Public...
October 4, 2018
Tagged in: Young Adult

The Episcopal Church invites applications for grants to assist with Young Adult and Campus Ministries throughout the church. This is a three-step process which includes discernment and planning, writing the application, and online submission. This process is designed to help you discern where and how God is calling your community to serve young adults and whether now is the right time to apply for a grant. We hope this process is an invitation for you and your community to consider how the Episcopal Church can minister with young adults on and off college campuses, (including community colleges and tribal college campuses, non-traditional degree programs) in the military, and those who are not in college. 

Eligibility
These grants are intended to provide funding for an Episcopal ministry (or ecumenical ministry with an Episcopal presence) in a diocese, congregation, or college/university that is currently engaging in or seeking a new relationship with young adults on and off college campuses.

Amount, Duration, and Categories of Grants
A total of $133,000 is available for this cycle, with a total of $400,000 available this triennium. These grants are for the 2019-2020 academic year. Deadline for submitting grants is November 19, 2018. There are four categories of grants:

  • Leadership Grant: to establish a new, restore a dormant, or reenergize a current campus ministry. Grant will range from $20-30,000 and can be used over a two-year period.
  • Campus Ministry Grants: to provide seed money to assist in the start-up of new, innovative campus ministries or to enhance a current ministry. Grants $3-5,000.
  • Young Adult Ministry Grants: to provide seed money to assist in the start-up of new, innovative young adult ministries or to enhance a current ministry. Grants $3-5,000. 
  • Project Grants: to provide money for a one-time project that will enhance and impact the campus or young adult ministry. Grants $100-1,000

For more information, go to the Grants Page

The Episcopal Church invites applications for grants to assist with Young Adult and Campus Ministries throughout the church. This is a three-step process which includes discernment and planning, writing the application, and online submission. This...
January 16, 2018

This year, the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry is hosting the Young Adult Festival at General Convention, and therefore will NOT hold the annual conference that usually happens in June. Instead, we are focusing on gathering with our friends and colleagues around the church at regional gatherings.

While each is listed chronologically by Province and date, all are welcome. Please note which gatherings are for leaders, and which are for leaders and young adults and students.

Province V
February 16-18, 2018

Techny Towers Retreat Center in Northbrook, IL.

A regional retreat for young adult Christians to gather, find rest, reconnect with God, and discover resources for better connecting with each other and the world around us.

Province VIII Young Adult and Campus Ministry Gathering: Signs Unwritten
April 6-8, 2018

Tucson, AZ

To view the brochure, click here.

Provinces I, II, and III Gathering for Young Adult and Campus Ministry Leaders
May 22-24

DuPont Memorial House Retreat Center, Delaware

This is a time for staff leaders, Chaplains and young adult ministers to gather in community to Refresh, Reconnect, and Reclaim. 

  • Refresh our spiritual lives, reconnect with colleagues, reclaim our gifts and skills for ministry. 
  • Guest speaker Sam Portaro will join the group in our reflection time 
  • The group will also spend time focused on building knowledge and skills. 

For more information and to register: https://goo.gl/forms/SjBFBcJOqqvlB8k32.

Province VII Gathering during General Convention for Young Adult and Campus Ministry Leaders
July
Austin, TX
Details soon.

Province V Chaplains Gathering
October 23-25, St. Louis
Details forthcoming. Contact the Rev. Stacy Alan at stacyalan@brenthouse.org for more information.

Province IV Gathering for Young Adult and Campus Ministry Leaders and Students in Discernment
November 19-21
Atlanta
Details soon.

This year, the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry is hosting the Young Adult Festival at General Convention, and therefore will NOT hold the annual conference that usually happens in June. Instead, we are focusing on gathering with our...
October 19, 2017

Starting January 2, 2018, the Episcopal Church will invite applications for grants to assist with ministries with Young Adult and Campus Ministries throughout the church. This will be a three-step process:

  1. Grant Discernment and Planning (download the pdf)
  2. Completing the Grant Application (download the Word doc), and
  3. Submitting the application online.

We hope this process is an invitation for you and your community to consider how Young Adult and Campus Ministry in the Episcopal Church can minister with young adults on and off college campuses, including Community Colleges and Tribal College Campuses, non-traditional degree programs, in the military, and those who are not in college. This process is designed to help you discern where and how God is calling your community to serve young adults and whether now is the right time to apply for a grant. Download a pdf describing the grants process.

Webinar

A webinar was held in mid-December to discuss the grants process and answer any questions. Click here to view the webinar on our youtube channel. Click here for the powerpoint used during the webinar.

Eligibility

These grants are intended to provide funding for an Episcopal ministry (or ecumenical ministry with an Episcopal presence) in a diocese, congregation or community college/tribal college/university campus that is currently engaging in or seeking a new relationship with young adults on and off college campuses.

Timeline

  • October: Grant requirements and application on website and social media
  • December 7, 4 pm Eastern: Grant process webinar
  • January 2: Online application goes live
  • February 2: Application window closes
  • February 3-16: Grant applications read and assessed by team of reviewers
  • February 17-28: Grant reviewers meet to discern and create recommendations for Executive Council
  • March 5: Recommendations to Executive Council
  • April 21-23: Executive Council meeting
  • April 25-27: Letters for success grant applications prepared and mailed
  • April 30: Grants announced

Amount, Duration, and Categories of Grants

These grants are for the 2018-19 academic year. A total of $138,000 is available for the 2018-2019 cycle, with a total of $400,000 available for the triennium.

There are four categories of grants:

  • Leadership Grant: to establish a new, restore a dormant, or reenergize a current campus ministry. Grant will range from $20-30,000 and can be used over a two-year period.
  • Campus Ministry Grants: to provide seed money to assist in the start-up of new, innovative campus ministries or to enhance a current ministry. Grants will range from $3-5,000.
  • Young Adult Ministry Grants: to provide seed money to assist in the start-up of new, innovative young adult ministries or to enhance a current ministry. Grants range from $3-5,000. 
  • Project Grants: to provide money for a one-time project that will enhance and impact the campus or young adult ministry. Grants $100-1,000.

Selection Criteria

Projects must:

  • be received on or before February 2, 2018 by 10 pm Eastern time.
  • be no more than five pages in length (which includes the summary page, description, goals, and evaluation and continuation of ministry), include the budget worksheet (no more than two pages long), and follow the grant format. (total application should be no more than 7 pages)
  • be submitted online. If you cannot submit the application online, please contact us before February 2 to make other arrangements.
  • show how the diocese, congregation, and/or ministry will continue to support the ministry at the end of the grant term. (if applicable)
  • be approved by the bishop of the diocese in which the ministry is to be located. Each diocese that receives a grant shall appoint someone to oversee the grant and make appropriate financial reports to The Episcopal Church and the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministries.

Selection Preferences

In addition to the above criteria, the selection process will also reflect several preferences. Though these are not requirements, we will give preference to projects that:

  • are collaborative and bring members of the community together.
  • bring new learning into a community.
  • prepare young adults for leadership and/or provide training for young adults.
  • reach those who are traditionally least likely to seek out a campus ministry or other Episcopal young adult ministry.
  • address the priorities of General Convention.
  • promote reconciliation, evangelism or environmental stewardship.

Budget Guidelines

The specific ways you propose to use grant funds will be a major factor in the selection of projects for funding.

  • Include a detailed budget that contains both expense and income to conduct the program.
  • Prepare your budget using the form provided at the end of this application. This is the budget for your grant application, not the budget for your organization.
  • Include estimates of committed contributions in kind, such as space and volunteer time.
  • Income should include participant fees and contributions, as applicable. Be specific and detailed about the budget for your project, including any other anticipated revenue.
  • Detail any additional grants that are being sought, and identify whether these funds are confirmed, anticipated, or pending. 

Expectations and Further Information

Ministers in charge of ministry grants are expected to attend any churchwide gatherings of campus or young adult ministers sponsored by the Episcopal Church during the term of the grant. Ministries receiving grants may be assigned a mentor for the duration of the grant period.

The application must be completed in full and submitted online. Please do not email your application.

If you have further questions, please contact The Rev. Shannon Kelly, Officer for Young Adult and Campus Ministry at skelly@episcopalchurch.org or Valerie Harris, Formation Associate at vharris@episcopalchurch.org.

Starting January 2, 2018, the Episcopal Church will invite applications for grants to assist with ministries with Young Adult and Campus Ministries throughout the church. This will be a three-step process: Grant Discernment and Planning (download...
September 6, 2017

Episcopal Young Adults are invited to the Young Adult Festival, to be held July 4-9, 2018 at the triennial General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

Through the Festival, young adults 18-30 have the opportunity to meet peers from across the globe to pray and learn together, engage our legislative process and help discern God’s call for the Episcopal Church. With worship, workshops, networking, and housing, the festival makes General Convention accessible and enjoyable for rookies, advocates, and leaders alike.

Registration is limited and will open later this fall. 

Episcopal Young Adults are invited to the Young Adult Festival, to be held July 4-9, 2018 at the triennial General Convention of The Episcopal Church. Through the Festival, young adults 18-30 have the opportunity to meet peers from across the globe...
April 28, 2017

Sunday, June 25
Attend Church at Local Churches

2:00 PM Pre-Conference Registration
2:30 pm – 6:00 pm Pre-Conference
4:00 PM Registration
6:00 PM Dinner
7:00 PM Welcome, Introductions, and Reception

Monday, June 26               

8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Opening Prayer
9:15 AM Welcome
9:30 AM Break Out Groups based on Ministry Context
10:30 AM Break
10:45 AM Opening Eucharist with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Town Hall with Bishop Curry
2:45 PM Break
3:00 PM Rotation Sessions
5:30 PM Evening Worship
6:00 PM Break for Day
Provincial Dinners (optional)

Tuesday, June 27               

8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Worship
9:30 AM Workshops A
10:45 AM Workshops B
12:00 AM Lunch
1:00 PM Resourcing our Ministries
3:00 PM Cultivation Talks
4:30 PM Open Space
5:30 PM Worship
6:00 PM Break for Day
Random fun things night – with sign ups                            

Wednesday, June 28       

8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 Worship
9:10 Mental Health First Aid
10:00 AM Open Space
11:00 AM Final Announcements and Upcoming Events
11:30 AM Closing Worship and Commission
12:00 PM FIN

Sunday, June 25 Attend Church at Local Churches 2:00 PM Pre-Conference Registration 2:30 pm – 6:00 pm Pre-Conference 4:00 PM Registration 6:00 PM Dinner 7:00 PM Welcome, Introductions, and Reception Monday, June 26                8:00 AM Breakfast...