My first thought when I was asked to participate in this weekend event was a sense of hope that was inspired simply by the fact that the national Episcopal Church is interested enough in reaching young adults to fund a conference of this nature. I know that there was a flood of information generated by the conference and I understand that it will be truly hard to sort what ideas and information is the most useful. The best suggestion I can offer to any who will listen is simply that, to listen and to be as accepting as possible.
I know that all people in this world are individuals and I truly believe that is what makes this world great. It would be an impossible task to try and create a church or a service that is completely satisfying to any congregation of any age. I understand as a participant in any service offered to group at large that no one person will be completely satisfied. A "church service" (as in an hour long segment of a Sunday morning) is exactly what it says.... it is a service provided by the church to the people who attend. As with any service industry, not all people who receive the service have the same needs. As such, it is the job of the individuals who provide the service to listen to the "customer" and do their best to provide what each "customer" needs within the confines of the church has and is willing to offer.
I ultimately left the church for two reasons. The first and more obvious of the two was the feeling that many individuals in my church were unable or unwilling to accept some of the differences in my views and in the way I do things. This is an uncomfortable feeling that I experience in many parts of my life and is certainly not a feeling that I wish to feel when I go to participate in a service that, in my opinion, should be rejuvenating and uplifting. The second reason I left the church, which goes along with the first, is that I did not feel that anyone was truly interested in listening to me. I am glad to have had the opportunity to express myself through this conference and it gives me hope that people are interested in listening to what I have to say.