Why Serve 2010: Episcopal Polity 101

June 14, 2010
By: 
Episcopal Young Adult and Campus Ministries
Brian Romero is a student in the Diocese of Long Island.
Why Serve? Or how to serve? These were the questions young adults were asking themselves as they traveled to Sewanee, Tennessee. They continued to ask them throughout the course of the Why Serve Conference hosted by the University of the South. During the four day stay they talked, contemplated their discernment and wondered which ministry would best suit their interests and experiences. Some are future ordained clergy, some are soon to be theologians and some will be missionaries across the globe. One amazing thing that these youth all have in common? Representing Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Native American/Indigenous people, and Latino/Hispanic backgrounds, these Episcopalians were of color, vibrant in pride and potential.

I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with the Ethnic Ministries Officers and my friends from different states and our sharing of callings and ministries. However something that did become apparent during our time together was that these young adults (like many in our church) need Episcopal education. By that I mean that in order for us to have as much influence as possible we need to be educated about our governance and structure on all levels. Without this fundamental knowledge we continue to face the impediments many people of color face in the church due to a lack of understanding regarding how things occur on the church-wide level.

During the conference Keane Akao provided an intro discussion on this particular missing piece. Many, if not all of the participants knew very little about our church’s structure, and not including this part of Christian education at these church wide events takes away a vital tool for the progress of our future leaders. One mistake of our past is that we continue to lead and are under the misconception that the young will simply “learn as they go.”

At the last General Convention, Resolution D094 was passed in both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, making it an Act of Convention. Its title, “Young Adult Representation on Legislative Committees” encourages the President of the House of Deputies to make an effort to appoint deputies under the age of 30 to legislative committees and CCABs (Committees, Commissions, Agencies and Boards). With the proper education provided to these young people they will be able to follow more ambitious and richer ministries in the wider church. Diocesan Conventions should include workshops and lectures on the Episcopal Church’s governance and structure. Young adults need to be told about the opportunities of the many ministries in our Lord’s name and the many bodies that they can run for if they feel called to do so. Educating young people must become a priority for those who have indeed realized our church’s critical situation. Now more than ever we must make sure that our future leaders are equipped with the information to lead, but that duty lies within all of us, to do as God instructed and spread the good word.


Filed under: Why Serve

CONTACT:
The Rev. Shannon Kelly
Staff Officer for Young Adult and Campus Ministries

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