The campus at the University of Wyoming will be transformed for six days in July when 1,400 youth of high school age congregate for the triennial Episcopal Youth Event (EYE). Young people from each of the church's nine provinces, who have worked with adult leaders in planning the event, say it will be a celebration that will inspire in youth a deeper faith in Christ and new commitment to mission and ministry.
'The design team is committed, following the tragedies of September 11, to make this event focus on issues affecting youth today and offer a faith-based, hopeful response to the world in which teenagers live,' said Brad Woodall, a student in Springfield, Missouri, who is chair of the communications committee for the event.
Organizers say the event beginning July 23 includes worship with a dynamic group of 12 musicians and singers, a cultural carnival with food, contests and souvenirs to exchange with others, games, recreation, workshops, discussions on 'hot issues' and an opportunity to experience the high plains of the western U.S. The event's theme, 'Bring it to the high plains! Tell the people who I am,' based on 1 Timothy 4:11-16, is appropriate for the Laramie, Wyoming, campus situated 8,000 feet above sea level.
At the design team's last meeting in Orlando, Florida, in January, some youth talked about the effect of the terrorist attacks on September 11 on their lives and on this summer's event. 'This is a chance for us to make a statement that something like that isn't going to affect our lives,' said Joe Wallace of New Orleans. 'My hope for EYE is that it will be an environment for fun and spirituality.'
'I'm hoping that EYE will truly unite the church's youth,' said Paul Canady of Ellicott City, Maryland, the adult representative from Province 4. 'Then the Episcopal Church as a whole will grow and be strengthened.' Skye Lund of Kadoka, South Dakota, added, 'I hope that EYE brings youth closer to God and each other. I hope to bring music to EYE as an expression of our faith.'
Each diocese has been allocated accommodation for 12 youth and three adult sponsors, but dioceses that recruit a diverse group of young people can register additional participants. Registration cost is $275, including room, meals and ground transportation.
More information on EYE is available at: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/episcopal-youth-event-2014. Daily postings will be made on the Web site during the youth event, July 23-28.