Fall 2013 Report from the Office of Youth Ministries
As Executive Council prepares to meet, each office of the Episcopal Church submits a report on their activity during the previous quarter. As the Officer for Youth Ministries, these are the primary projects I either focused on or participated in during the past 3 months.
- A subcommittee of the Youth Ministry Council met in early June to continue work on revising a resource for mission preparation for youth groups in congregations and dioceses. The working title is Episcopal Youth in Mission Manual. We hope to release the resource as a digital publication in September after the full Council meets and has a chance to make a final review. It will also be used to prepare groups for participation at the Episcopal Youth Event in 2014.
- The Kanuga Formation Conference in mid-June was themed Holy Mischief. I joined Mission Network staff members Tom Brackett, and Anthony Guillen in leading workshops, providing worship leadership, and hosting individual and congregational consultations over the course of the week.
- EAM@40, the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries Convocation was held in late June in San Francisco. I assisted with planning and programming for the youth event that took place alongside and within the convocation. Over 40 young people participated in a program designed by local youth missioner Jennifer Snow and Longkee Vang from Holy Apostles, St. Paul, Minnesota. I joined Ruth-Ann Collins from Lifelong Christian Formation to lead workshops on The Five Marks of Mission, the Episcopal Youth Event, and poly-generation formation ministries.
- The Ecumenical Campus Ministry Team and Young Adult Ministry Council worked to help host Shared Space, an ecumenical young adult and campus ministries conference that took place June 26-29, 2013, in Chicago. Over 100 Episcopalians participated and were the largest denominational cohort registered. In addition to participating in ecumenical keynote and worship sessions the Episcopalians gathered at St. James Commons for workshops and networking. Several Mission Network staff members joined the Formation and Vocation Ministries Team for a variety of workshops and conversations; Jason Sierra, Sam McDonald, Tom Brackett, Ruth-Ann Collins, and myself. Glenn Libby, Diocese of Los Angeles, and Jason Sierra, DFMS, were honored with ministry achievement awards at the closing banquet, as was the Rev. Lucas Mix, Diocese of Arizona, who was honored with the Sam Portaro Award for Creative Expression and Intellectual Inquiry for his work with the Hill Society.
- Work on the new initiatives in the Mission Mark Three arena enters the next phase this fall when an exploratory meeting for launching a Gap Year Program prototype will be hosted by David Copely, Missioner for Global Missions, and myself. The primary responsibility for this initiative will fall to our new hire, the Missioner for Young Adult and Campus Ministry, and will be shared across the Youth Ministry Network and the Global Missions Network.
- The Episcopal Youth Event Mission Planning Team will meet in San Diego to continue work on framing the event that will take place on the Villanova campus and in Philadelphia July 9-13, 2014. Registration procedures and participant costs will be released this fall. On-line training sessions will be offered for diocesan coordinators and registrars. Plans are underway to coordinate a 3 Days of Urban Mission opportunity in Philadelphia immediately following the event.
- The Formation and Vocation Ministries Team renewed a consulting contract with Wendy Johnson to continue managing social media in coordination with our constituent Councils, Networks, and Communications Office. Wendy is supporting Bronwyn as team leader in maintaining communication and connectivity with the Young Adult and Campus Ministry communities during the discernment and hiring process for a new missioner and is specifically helping update the Campus Missions Map on the website. She will also be supporting the media and logistics aspects of the Episcopal Youth Event as she did for the 2011 EYE.
I look forward to this next season in the Office of Youth Ministries, as we focus even more closely on the upcoming EYE, introduce a “beta” gap year program, and release the timely Episcopal Youth in Mission Manual.
Watch this blog for regular updates and certainly feel free to post any questions or feedback in the comments below.