Today’s guest blogger is Carlos de la Torre, who is a second year student at Virginia Theological Seminary and a Postulant from the Diocese of Connecticut. Currently, Carlos serves as a seminarian intern at a faith community in Washington D.C.
Why Serve Formed Me Into the Person I Am Today
In the summer of 2011, I got on plane from New York to Nashville for the Why Serve conference at Sewanee.
A few weeks earlier, I had seen a post about the conference on the Facebook page of the Episcopal Church’s Latino Ministries. I had no expectations – I had never been to Tennessee. I had never been to Sewanee. I had never even met anyone from the Episcopal Church outside of the New York and Connecticut area.
As a capital “E” extravert, it didn’t take me long to mingle with people and begin to develop friendships. I quickly found out that almost everyone there, like myself, had no expectations. Now, I don’t mean this is in a bad way nor I’m suggesting I had low expectations. Rather, I knew I was entering something new.
I had no control over what were going to talk about, where I was going to go, who I was going to meet, or what we were going to do. Looking back, I had signed up for Why Serve on impulse, completely out of the blue and at the last minute (and by last minute I mean I had signed up for the conference well after the registration deadline had passed).
I believe that best tool for formation cannot be found in a book, a website, or any other program, rather, it’s found in interpersonal relationships. The people I met at Why Serve formed me both as a Baptized Christian and as future priest. Why Serve served as a place where I could talk about my issues, visions, and ambitions for my ministry and for the church. My whole life I have been surrounded by great mentors who I could turn to at any time. However, until Why Serve I had never been able to talk with a group of peers – people my age, people of my cultural background, and people of cultural backgrounds I knew little about. Throughout that Why Serve conference, I felt God at work in the relationships that were formed, the conversations that took place both in a classroom and in a living room at 2am.
My experience at Why Serve was one of the greatest things I could have ever been a part of. It was so much the case I volunteered to serve on the design team for the 2012 Why Serve conference at Virginia Seminary.
I’m currently half way done with my seminary education at Virginia Seminary, and I still have a special place in my heart for Why Serve, and the people I’ve met throughout the two Why Serve conferences I’ve attended. I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for my experiences at Why Serve.
Why Serve 2014 will be held June 5 to 8 at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Young Adults (age 18-30) from the Asian, Black, Indigenous, and Latino/Hispanic communities of The Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church, and churches in communion with The Episcopal Church are invited for five days of fellowship, training, discernment, self-care, fun, and laughter as they explore this question: Why Serve?
Register online now for Why Serve.