Who will lead? Rebecca Ogus (Diocese of Eastern North Carolina/Ohio)
Happy Leap Day!
There are so many things I’d like to say, but I am not yet articulate nor composed enough to do that. I have an eight-hour train ride in my future, however, so I figure that’ll come in time.
The Episcopal Church and the CSW incredibly linked, far more than I ever anticipated. I knew that, as a church, we were committed to social justice, but I had no idea how much the movements would mean to me. For example, the work the Episcopal Church does to address and combat sexual violence and sex trafficking. As someone who has worked to spread awareness about and provide support for survivors of sexual assault, these topics are important to me. To know that my church cares, too, is empowering.
Some of the best events I’ve attended here have been sponsored, if not by members of the Anglican Communion, then by a member of Ecumenical Women, another group that the EYA Delegation is a part of. Listening to Leymah Gbowee speak on the importance of mentors in the lives of girls around the world, or learning about the theatre of the oppressed and participating in it to understand how it can be used as a tool to explore and address problems in women’s lives, or hear from other young adults in the church what they are doing to create change – these are all amazing events and opportunities made possible by the Church.
In fact, earlier today I was talking with two women before an event started, and when I mentioned that I was a part of the EYA delegation, the women expressed their surprise and excitement that Church groups had organized many of their favorite events, as well. It impressed upon me that we, as part of Ecumenical Women and, more importantly for me, as part of the Episcopal Church, really can enact change in our policies, and through those, the world. This was further demonstrated today by some of my fellow EYAers (Sarah, Jordan, and Chris) as they asked tough questions at the US Mission to the UN!!
One of the other important things I’ve learned from all of my Episcopal Church bonding time is that the voices of young adults (under 30 or 35 year olds) are critical in developing new infrastructure, strategies, and policies. As the world changes, the way we structure the Church must change, too, and we have to be involved, since it’s our generation that will be sustaining the Church as time passes. Unless young adults are accepted into decision making bodies on a local, diocesan, and Church-wide level to contribute their opinions and their knowledge, and to learn from and be mentored by older members of the church, the Episcopal Church will not grow. It will not be dynamic. It will not be vibrant. It will not be a powerful influence to create the kind of change that we, as a church, are committed to and compelled to do.
Continue the important work that the Episcopal Church is involved in at the CSW! Trust young adults! We can’t do it without our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, nor do we want to. But you can’t do it without us, either.
Filed under: UNCSW