Category Archives: Youth and Young Adults

St. Paul’s youth journey to Dominican Republic deeply affecting

group shot pasluz 3rd gradeAfter nearly two years of discernment and planning, four St. Paul’s high school youth (all seniors) and three leaders boarded a plane on February 12 to embark on pilgrimage to Dominican Republic. There they volunteered with Outreach 360 in Montecristi near the northwest Haitian border. Youth included Ally Collins, Cedric Hipkins, Markis Larrivee and Joanna Brown. Leaders were Myrna Koonce, Hugh Savage and Macauley Lord. The group returned on February 21, changed and moved. Their experience was, by turns, challenging, absorbing, confusing, rewarding and joyful. Here are some highlights:

  • Awakening to dozens of roosters crowing and many motor scooters (“motos”) heading to school or work
  • Standing in front of groups of schoolchildren and chanting, “Wa-wa-wa-what’s the weather, what’s– what’s the weather?”
  • Watching our planning ideas take shape as children of all ages eagerly volunteered to engage in activities designed to help them speak English
  • Playing chasing and ball games with children during recess at tiny Pasluz Escuela
  • Playing “Papa Caliente” (hot potato) with the fifth and sixth graders at an even smaller school in Laguna Verde
  • Holding our own prayer service each morning on the rooftop of our Outreach 360 building in Barrio Salomon Jorge, Montecristi
  • Singing, drumming and dancing merengue with our new friends from Berkley High School in Michigan
  • Answering Spanish/Dominican trivia questions before eating rice, beans, meat, plantain and tropical fruits for lunch and dinner
  • Hiking up El Morro, the local mountain, to watch the sunrise
  • Giving and receiving friendly “holas” everywhere we walked in the town
  • Buying fresh juices from the local “juice lady”
  • Touring the salt flats where salt is harvested solely by hand
  • Visiting the crowded twice-weekly market in Dajabon, where Haitians cross the border to trade with Dominicans

The youth and their parents and leaders worked hard to raise funds for this trip by offering several events, food and services to their fellow parishioners. In thanksgiving, the youth will offer reflections at an upcoming all-parish worship service, and a Dominican dinner for the parish, cooked by the journeyers. We are so grateful to have such an active and inquiring group of teens among us, and we wish them the best as they leave for college next year.

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Filed under Anglican Communion, Ministry and Outreach, St. Paul's Brunswick, Youth and Young Adults

Bishopswood needs our help to open its doors in 2016

Estimates are in and the comprehensive Bishopswood septic system will cost $185,000. As Bishop Lane says in his letter to friends of our diocesan camp: Read it here

“Now is the time to make a gift toward this project. I have committed diocesan resources so that contracts can be made and work can begin, but there is no budget for this work. The funding of this project is completely in the hands of all of us who love Bishopswood and want to see another generation of children benefit from its ministry.” 
 
Bishopswood Executive Director Mike Douglass also has a letter that details the need and urgency for year-end gifts so that camp can open next summer. Donations may be made online on the Diocese of Maine home page at www.episcopalmaine.org. or use this direct link to the secure online donation page. Also checks may be sent directly to Bishopswood at 98 Bishopswood Road, Hope, Maine  04847. If you would like to learn more about the project by having Mike call or email you, please be in touch with him at mike@bishopswood.org. Congregations are encouraged to share this notice in their bulletins, newsletters, and announcements. Click here for a ready-to-print bulletin insert.

 

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Filed under Camp Bishopswood, Diocesan Life, Faith Development, Youth and Young Adults

Deputy of the Day – Anna Foster

Today’s Deputy of the Day is a member of the Official Youth Presence at General Convention. Anna Foster, a member of St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland, and a recent graduate of South Portland High School, is one of 18 young people from across The Episcopal Church chosen through a competitive process to be involved in General Convention. Yay, Anna!

by Anna Foster

IMG_3824

Anna Foster

Walking into the Salt Palace today, the fact that I was going to be attending General Convention finally hit me. There are many different aspects of Convention that are very exciting. There are endless things to do and people to meet, and it’s all set in beautiful Salt Lake City. It may have been the first day, but it was not a slow start. From early committee meetings, to learning how to navigate the Blue Book on the iPads, the day was jam packed. However it was also very fulfilling. Listening to the Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katherine Jeffers Schori, and the President of the House of Deputy, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings reminded me of all the amazing opportunities available to me here. I’m excited to work with my fellow Official Youth Presence members to discern and speak about many of the issues and changes facing the church. Listening to the words of the candidates for Presiding Bishop was an enriching experience and added to the excitement.

There are so many exciting things in store for me, and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. I can’t wait to experience it all with God in my heart and amazing people surrounding me.

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Filed under General Convention, News from The Episcopal Church, St. Luke's Cathedral, Youth and Young Adults

Awakening changes your life

by Maeghan Higgins, 11th grader
St. Ann’s, Windham

On the weekend of November 14-16th, over sixty people gathered together at the diocesan Fall Middle School Event, IMG_0119 (1)Awakening, to learn and grow in Christ.  The event at St. Luke’s Cathedral was attended by kids from all across the state of Maine.

This weekend was all about awakening ourselves from our busy lives and reconnecting with God.  The activities were endless – creating skits from Bible stories, participating in worship led by the teens, singing, playing manhunt on Saturday night, and praying with each other during prayer circles.  And the delicious food provided by St. Luke’s and Trinity’s kitchen staff made all of the participants and staff feel right at home.

IMG_0246The connections that we made will never be broken because the connections were made with Christ in the middle of them.  Everyone was encouraged to take the light of Christ out into their communities and share what they learned this weekend.  I’m praying that Christ touched each and every person here.  Awakening changed all of our lives in one way or another.  Participants and staff hope and pray that it will change more lives to come!

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Filed under St. Luke's Cathedral, Youth and Young Adults

What about BION?

Boys at BION

Boys at BION

BION is a five-day camp for kids in grades 6-12 at Bishopswood and led by Maine Episcopal Youth Events.Fifty four teens were at BION in August. Campers in the six cabins were each given different topics to comment on. Here’s what they had to say:

“The experience at BION was fun; it was also a wonderful way to connect with God. The cooks prepared amazing food. During worship we had laughs but also became spiritually more mature. There were a variety of activities that we enjoyed with our friends.”

“Some of our favorite activities were: Ultimate frisbee, theatre games, paracord bracelets, swimming and noodle hockey.”

BION 3 036

Girls at BION

“We enjoyed the focus group called Arts & Creation because it gave us a chance to be creative while learning about God. We also enjoyed the focus group Scraps of Scripture because we got to find Bible quotes and bring them home to keep. As always, High School Huddle was awesome because it gave us a chance to connect with people our own age on a deeper level and talk about things we’re all going through.”

“We love upbeat songs like Prince of Peace, Big House, I Am the Resurrection, and Fear Not because they have hand motions and they pump us up. We also like the slow songs like Sanctuary because of the harmonies and they help us to get in the mood for worship.”

“We had a ton of fun as new campers. We liked that the cabins were very clean when we arrived. We had a lot of fun during rest hour. We are all coming back next year to BION Camp and bringing friends!”

The next BION Camp will be August 18-22, 2015. See more at www.maineyouth.org.

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Filed under Camp Bishopswood, Fun, Youth and Young Adults

Young Mainer finds her longed for “fire” as missionary to Uruguay

by Kirsten Lowell
St. Ann’s, Windham

kirstenImagine waking up every day for an entire year in a place unlike anywhere you have ever been. Imagine waking up every day to form relationships with people in a language that you are attempting to comprehend. Imagine waking up every day to serve and worship in a culture that is outside your past experience. Imagine waking up every day to grow in your faith 5,351 miles away from your home. All that is pretty hard to imagine, but it’s about to happen to me in August as I head to the Anglican Diocese of Uruguay as a missionary with the Young Adult Service Corps.

Six months ago, I was living an average life for a 23 year-old. I lived with roommates, worked 40 hours a week, cooked dinner, and watched Jeopardy most evenings. While I was content with where I was and what I was doing, I desired more and longed for some fire in my life that I could not place my finger on.

Five months ago, I found that fire. I was presented with the opportunity to apply to the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC), a missionary program through the Episcopal Church for young adults ages 21-30. It is described like this:“The Young Adult Service Corps brings young adults into the life of the worldwide Anglican Communion and into the daily work of a local community.  At the same time, it brings the gifts and resources of the church into the lives of young adults as they explore their own faith journeys.”

Since then, life has been a whirlwind of interviews, prayers, discernment, prayers, training, prayers, education, and most importantly, prayers.

I grew up in St. Ann’s in Windham as an active participant in the acolyte and youth programs for not only St. Ann’s but in the Diocese of Maine. I represented the Diocese of Maine at the National Acolyte Festival in Washington D.C. in 2004, Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) in 2005, and a Province I event in Connecticut in 2007. I served as staff at many middle school events, TECs and Happenings, and served as Assistant Rector for Happening in 2007. While attending school outside of Philadelphia, PA, and working in the area for the past few years, I have stayed connected to my home parish and the Diocese of Maine and continue to consider it my home. I served as a counselor at BION this past summer, attended a young adult retreat in January, volunteered as an adult at TEC in March, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to attend BION again later this summer before heading to Uruguay to begin my work with YASC. I’m excited for what this coming year may bring, and I’m thrilled to have such an amazing and wonderful community of people to share it with.

There will be days when I am like Peter – walking on water, fearless, with a strong faith – but there are also days when, like Peter, I will begin to sink and have doubts. That’s when I’ll need to remember how quickly Jesus reached out and picked him back up. But for right now, I am stepping out of the boat, beginning my journey.

It is hard to predict what this year will bring for me and for the community I will be living and serving in, but we are in this together. We are the body of Christ. We are one body, many parts. This coming year as I serve as the hands and feet, and I invite you, members of the Episcopal Church in Maine, to be part of the heart of my ministry. Please share the journey with me by offering prayers and following my messages home to Maine.

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Filed under Ministry and Outreach, St. Ann's Windham, Youth and Young Adults

Seriously grown-ups: these kids can pray you under the table

By Liz Graves
St. Saviour’s, Bar Harbor

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

“Who knows how the awareness of God’s love first hits people?” Frederick Buechner wrote. “Some moment happens in your life that you say yes, right to the roots of your hair, that makes it worth having been born just to have happen.”

When high school teens and adults from across Maine, and a few from New Hampshire, converged at Trinity Church in Portland in February for the annual diocesan “Teens Encounter Christ” (TEC) high school weekend retreat, there were a lot of those moments.

We gathered on a Friday night for music and the parish hall was packed. More than 30 high school participants and 11 teen staff were led by two co-“rectors” of the retreat, CJ Wallace of St. Ann’s, Windham, and Kate Rogers of Trinity.

Building a safe, close community to experience and share those “yes!” moments is what youth ministry is all about.

“I told [the teen staff] that we have to be a team during this weekend, all of us, and that part of being a team is watching out for each other and making sure we leave no one behind,” CJ said in an email after the retreat. “Then I just tried to lead by example. It wasn’t easy, because I’m not really as outgoing as I probably appeared, but I was the leader so it was my duty to show everyone where I wanted this weekend to go.”

More than 20 adults were mixed in, too—some had brought teens with them, some wanted to learn about the program and try to start another one elsewhere. As a member of Diocesan Council, I, too, wanted to learn more and offer support to youth ministry in the diocese.

As a former youth minister and Episcopal camp leader, I had heard that the “Teens Encounter Christ” retreat was similar to “Happening” retreats that draw inspiration from Cursillo. I didn’t know what to expect.

The core group of volunteers who developed this retreat in Maine and have shepherded it through its long life had an uphill climb this year following Diocesan staff restructuring.

Despite those challenges, I was blown away by the effectiveness of the retreat. Youth and young adult leaders leading worship and giving short talks spoke from deep conviction and experience. The structure of small group discussion builds towards a powerful healing prayer service Sunday morning.

“You get to meet a lot of people and some of them are incredibly intelligent and thoughtful when it comes to God,” CJ said. “These events are fun and provide a safe environment for everyone no matter your background. I hope the participants came away knowing that Jesus is that friend who will help you out anytime anywhere. That is incredibly important.”

Seriously, grown-ups: these kids can pray you under the table.

 

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Filed under Diocesan Life, Faith Development, Trinity Portland, Youth and Young Adults