Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Episcopal Church Welcomes You

by Nkiruka Okeke

Outside of the Anaheim Convention Center, where the 76th Episcopal General Convention was held, a banner that read “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” was hung.  When I first arrived, I felt like I didn’t know anyone and I got lost (as usual) but the friendly smiles and the helpful directions of those I met made me feel welcome.   

 Along side the General Convention, the Young Adult Festival and the General Convention Youth Program were held.  There were a few things that stood out to me at the convention.

  1. The discussion of a variety of issues such as the environment, missions, human rights, communications and giving voice to youth and young adults in the church.
  2. The attendance at the conference.  I don’t know the exact number of people that attended the conference but to see an 800,000 square foot room filled with people during the Eucharist and in the exhibit hall was amazing.
  3. Feeling welcome.  The theme of the conference “Ubuntu” which means community.  Ubuntu is a type of community that inextricably links us all together, encourages our uniqueness and strengthens us as a group.  The warmness and openness of the people at the conference didn’t feel like a gimmick or a ploy, it seemed genuine and I really do feel that it a part of who we are as Episcopalians.
 The agenda of the conference included Legislative meetings, daily Eucharist, visits to the exhibit hall and for those who participated in the Young Adult Festival, afternoon workshops and evening Compline.  At the Legislative sessions, decisions on how we could full our mission as a church were made.  At daily Eucharist, we got to share in communion with people from all over the nation and all over the world and hear different chorus perform. I thought the children’s chorus was especially moving.  

The Young Adult workshops included information about discernment, meditation, music and community involvement.  There is so many more meaningful experiences that I would like to share but I’ll leave you with links about the General Convention and a quote from the General Convention orientation video below, which I believe embodies the purpose of the Convention. 

“What we learn at the conference can help us to live out our baptismal promise to seek and serve Christ, love our neighbors as ourselves and respect the dignity of every human being.” 

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Is Peace Possible in Palestine and Israel?

By Harry Akehurst

Responsible people today don’t need to be told that there are two sides to each argument: we can recognize propaganda; we perceive motives and opposing points of view; we’ve grown adept at netting substance from rhetoric, and instinctively suspicious of attempts to dictate a right or wrong.

The Rev. Canon Naim Ateek strove hard to appeal to this common sense in his brief introduction to the Israel/Palestine conflict, at the Young Adults Festival lunch on July 13, sympathising with all sides and reassuring all of his frank objectivity.

I’m far from convinced. Following a little provocation and insightful questioning from his audience, a glimpse of the anger, resentment and sorrow which colours so much of this debate – and from which rational people so instinctively shrink in our efforts to remain objective – became apparent.

Ateek’s emotion emerged because he stands for justice. Let’s be clear: this is not a conflict between equals; over 50 years of displacement, terror and death leave no ambiguity about where justice most desperately needs to be applied.

But maybe there is still another, murkier side to the situation. As Christians we often bundle the words ‘justice’ and ‘peace’ together, as if they were mutually inclusive. But they aren’t. Consider peaceful regions of the world today: was justice ever done in this country by its indigenous people? Ever done in Europe, where oppressive empires have become established nations, despite their ethnic roots in many exploited, conquered peoples?

Justice in the Middle East would be devastating. Israel would be demolished by tanks and F16s, exactly the way it has dealt with Palestine. Justice demands it. Peace, however, may demand something else. What if, for peace, somebody must surrender their claim on Jerusalem? Many are prepared to march at their oppressors in the name of peace: is there anybody prepared to crawl away, so that nobody more need die?

If we let a bully go, and live alone in a peaceful victory forged in terror and religious lunacy, might we not have done better than if we stood our ground? We must – our duty to life demands it – we absolutely must respond to this conflict, but what should be our rallying cry? As Christians, how can we choose between peace and justice?

Harry Akehurst is from the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Finding the Young Adults in the Church (hint: we’re right here)

By Lauren Woody

As the Diocesan Coordinator for Young Adult Ministries in the Diocese of Atlanta, I advocate for a group (young adults) that I think is largely forgotten and misunderstood in the church world. As youth we are put out in the spotlight and then just expected to quietly integrate into becoming an “adult” member of the parish as soon as we turn 18. I think that this is one of the biggest mistakes the church is currently making. We’re not given the skills or support to accomplish this goal and then people wonder why we aren’t filling the pews every Sunday. Many of us are leaving the Episcopal Church for other denominations or non-denominational churches because it seems like they are the ones equipping people in their twenties to become vital parts of the church body.

I think we can start doing something about that in our church by educating people as to what defines a young adult. And how do we do that Lauren? We give them the opportunity to be in front of people the way the youth are. We are often lumped in with youth in ways that make it hard to define our identity. But we aren’t youth. We’re out in the real world trying to decide how we will survive the next 80-something years.

Let us stand up and tell you who we are. Allow us to tell you how we are different and why we can’t be lumped together. Let us tell you why we are lost and why we need you to mentor us in the ways of being an adult. It might seem scary, but it isn’t hard. All you have to do is approach a young adult and say hello and how are you, we will do the rest. We’re ready to speak, but unsure of how to ask for that right because we are out of the spotlight. Please don’t forget us.

Lauren Woody is from the Diocese of Atlanta.

Testifying Not Terrifying

By P’Tricia Egbert

On Saturday I testified at a hearing on Resolution D064, which asks General Convention to help send young adults on a pilgrimage to Geneva. I was surprised to find that when you testify, even if you haven’t initially been involved in the creation of a resolution, the floor is open to questions from the committee members. The committee, while critical of the resolution itself, were supportive and helpful. By the end of the session, all had agreed to have the resolution revised by the subcommittee, asking that the resolution be directed to the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry. Now that I know what to expect, any anxiety I had about expressing my opinion during a hearing is gone; people were glad to hear my opinion as a young adult.

P’Tricia Egbert is from the Diocese of Kentucky.

Meet Garrett Braaf, Gospel Hip Hop Artist, YAF Participant

My name is Garrett Braaf and I am a Gospel Hip Hop artist. I have chosen this method of ministry for a number of reasons. I’m particularly fond of the musical style of hip hop, but not too crazy about the negative messages it sometimes displays.

Realistically, most of today’s young people enter the music store and walk straight past the GOSPEL section and go to the pop, R&B and hip hop.

My approach is simply to take the same high energy beats of today’s popular music and replace the negative message with the message of the Gospel.

In Mark 16:5 it says to “spread the gospel to every living creature.”

Why not do it in a way that will easily reach our younger generation? To me, that’s music.

To hear more of Garrett’s music, visit www.gquinnmusic.com and www.youtube.com/gquinnthecrucifier.

Garrett Braaf is from the Diocese of Southeast Florida.

Voice and Vote Representation at General Convention

By Eileen O’Brien

Currently, the youth presence at General Convention -- which is comprised of a diverse group of youth ages 16-18 from across the Episcopal Church -- has seat and voice, but no vote. Saturday morning, the Structure Committee held hearings on Resolution D066 which resolves to give vote to the Official Youth Presence. Although the resolution presents a number of legal, funding, and constitutional issues, every the committee responded enthusiastically to it.

I believe that this resolution has important implications for the under-represented young adult community in the church, as well. It sends a message to dioceses and parishes that we need to examine our leadership structures and be intentional about breaking down barriers so that young adults and new members in the church can more fully engage in ministry. For example, parishes that have elected the same people to their Diocesan Councils for over ten years need to be told to think again about how they can train and equip younger leaders for ministry.

Here at General Convention, only 14% of deputies are under the age of 45. Five percent are under the age of 35, and of that 5%, 60% are part of the youth presence that does not have a vote. If we want to hear and empower young people in the church, we must take this first step.

Eileen O’Brien is from the Diocese of Texas.

Voice and Vote Representation at General Convention

By Eileen O’Brien

Currently, the youth presence at General Convention -- which is comprised of a diverse group of youth ages 16-18 from across the Episcopal Church -- has seat and voice, but no vote. Saturday morning, the Structure Committee held hearings on Resolution D066 which resolves to give vote to the Official Youth Presence. Although the resolution presents a number of legal, funding, and constitutional issues, every the committee responded enthusiastically to it.

I believe that this resolution has important implications for the under-represented young adult community in the church, as well. It sends a message to dioceses and parishes that we need to examine our leadership structures and be intentional about breaking down barriers so that young adults and new members in the church can more fully engage in ministry. For example, parishes that have elected the same people to their Diocesan Councils for over ten years need to be told to think again about how they can train and equip younger leaders for ministry.

Here at General Convention, only 14% of deputies are under the age of 45. Five percent are under the age of 35, and of that 5%, 60% are part of the youth presence that does not have a vote. If we want to hear and empower young people in the church, we must take this first step.

Eileen O’Brien is from the Diocese of Texas.


By Charis Hill

UBUNTU just is.

“Isn’t that U-buh-ntu, the computer program?” No…not quite. I am referring to a concept best lived and experienced outside the confines of technology. Ubuntu draws humans together, in very personal ways. If we listen to the word very carefully, we are able to hear, “Ubuntu: we are all connected to our brothers and sisters. We depend on one another for survival.” Ubuntu reminds us, if we listen, that we cannot live independently from our neighbors. What a hard concept to grasp in a world that is being taken over largely by individualistic, western thought that encourages competition and applauds Darwinian, “survival of the fittest” thought.

Perhaps I should ask, CAN you live without the brothers and sisters beside you? It is for what we take for granted that we should be most thankful: the roads we use, the clothes we wear, the buildings in which we reside, the food we consume, the music we hear. I cannot think of any one person among us who is capable of producing, alone, all these wants and needs for herself, nor are there enough hours in the day. We depend on one another for the sustenance we need which we cannot ourselves provide. I work daily on improving my awareness and thanks for the materials I use. I think about the origin of the products I use and the people who helped to make it possible for me to use these items. Someone made my clothes, someone cleans my hotel room, someone transports my recycling away.

We are all connected.

Ubuntu: we are all in this together. What does Ubuntu really mean, in English? I cannot tell you. Even if I had the words, there is no way everyone would understand it with the same perspective, and no way for me (as a Caucasian North American female) to accurately describe the best meaning for Ubuntu as its origin dictates. Do I give up attempting to explain it to you? No. I live it, breathe it, and share it.

Ubuntu is sharing.

For those of you who, like myself, are “tree huggers,” them perhaps I can reach you by saying Ubuntu is living in harmony with every living being. Or, those of you familiar with the Bible (which I dearly pray you are), perhaps I can compare Ubuntu to I Corinthians; we each have our different gifts which make up the body of Christ. We cannot function without others. If we deny the gift of another, we deny our own gifts and therefore deny what our body needs to survive. I am because you are. We are because we are.

My short time thus far at General Convention has been filled with interactions with Episcopalians and non Episcopalians. My idea of Ubuntu is that I treat none of these interactions as any more or less important than the next. If we can grow together to a point where we are happy enough with ourselves that we can love every person equally and treat one another – within or without the communion – as she deserves, then we may find ourselves in an Ubuntu-filled world. We should work, all of us, towards embracing one another, as Christ calls us to do, and move away from simply tolerating the differences we find. Without our differences, we would be less than whole. We must find a way to return to harmony, first within ourselves, and then with every other part of God’s creation. No exceptions."

Charis Hill is from the Dioceses of East and North Carolina.

Food for Thought

By Noah Kilian

Saturday evening I had the great pleasure of attending a meal provided by Abundant Table. I went knowing only that I would be taught about sustainable living. What I experienced was more than I ever could have hoped for, as I received food for not only my body, but also my mind and soul.

The event followed the general form of a Holy Eucharist, with readings about food, farming, and sustainability. Those present heard the staggering statistic that most of the food here in the United States travels on average 1500 miles to reach our tables, and that if U.S. families ate just one meal a week comprised of all local produce it would cut the U.S. oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels per week. If such a small amount could do so much it is a wonder that we have not adopted this as a common practice.

Then came the meal itself, which was put together of entirely locally grown products. In an atmosphere of fellowship those dining were encouraged to share their individual experiences with food in their lives. It was eye opening to witness the amount of diversity present just in that room with regards to food. Many experiences were represented, from the family that always had abundant home cooked meals, to the family that ate out all the time, to the family that struggled to put food on the table.

As the meal reached its close we ended with a prayer and left the room full in all aspects. I know that I will be taking what I’ve learned home with me to Portland, and I hope to make improvements in my own life and stop taking my food for granted.

Noah Kilian is from the Diocese of Oregon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Young Adult Presence

By Charis Hill

I fortunately found myself a visitor in the House of Bishops the day the official youth presence was invited to share. As the two speakers made their way to the front of the room to a standing ovation, a few Young Adult Festival buddies and I found ourselves a bit jealous. Here we are, right smack dab in the middle of two groups: the “youth” (younger than me?) and the “adults” (older than me?). While I believe I am part of both of these groups as a young adult, I feel the official group (young adults) of which I am part is often overlooked, especially while we are in the midst of transforming our lives as we transition through college, graduation, and beginning careers and families – very big, stressful events. And we do not get a voice in front of the House of Bishops like the official youth presence. Their voices are heard. Do you know we are here as well?

During the past two days, I have often wondered how those who are part of the official youth presence will feel when they pass the age cutoff for being a “youth” and become a young adult. The privileges they have as official youth will suddenly change as they become “one of us” as we sing together, “stuck in the middle with you.”

What I want to happen is a growth of support for the in-between groups. I am so happy we have such a powerful and supported youth presence; this should not ever go away. What happens, though, when the youth grow up? They become young adults, and find, perhaps suddenly, that the voice they had so recently is now gone, or dramatically scaled back, because they now occupy a completely different position within the church.

Please hear our voices, and try to find a way to treat us as the young adults we are. Like the youth, we have special needs and desires. We want to share them with the Church, with General Convention, and we want to be embraced. The Church will grow if it is able to sustain and support the rising members of the Church. We must continue to support the youth, yes, but when the youth become young adults, please do not forget us. Please do not trust that we can support ourselves. We need nurture and care; we need the Church to be a constant in our lives. We need to hear that we, as young adults, have a supported place in the Church, so that the youth have something more to look forward to when they “age-up.”

Charis Hill is from the Dioceses of East and North Carolina.

The View From Here

By Molly Stitsworth

I've come to this convention not only to enjoy the YAF, but to work on behalf of Vocare International. I spent yesterday at our booth, greeting people from all over the world. Whether or not they stopped to talk, each and every person gave me a smile. It was very encouraging, especially when my feet went numb after hour number three. The people who did stop to chat about this great young adult ministry showed genuine interest and support. People are really taking notice of us, realizing that we're the future of the church -- it’s so refreshing! Keep it going. The young adult community has arrived.

Molly Stitsworth is from the Diocese of Arkansas.

Red Earth

By Rachel Ost

Adam, creation of the Most High

as is the ground from where

he came

Mountains, like chiseled muscle

Rivers, like beaded sweat running down

Bluest sky, the twinkling eye

Ground below, reddest earth

Both His creations

Both His to cherish

but one

only one earning

the death of His Son

a new Adam

so that the Adam

of today

might live


Rachel Ost is from the Diocese of West Missouri

No Language Barriers at YAF Workshop

No Language Barriers at YAF Workshop

By Moises Quezada

In the Community Expressions workshop I thought that language was going to stand in the way of what they were going to be sharing, but I was wrong. Even though the songs were in different languages, I had a great time dancing and singing. You could feel the excitement in the praises and with the djembe. I realized that it doesn’t matter where I am coming from and the language I speak, every time we are praising God, He hears us. I also felt linked to the African culture because we use some of the same instruments like the djembe and the güira to rejoice when singing to the Lord. I invite you to look for a space, find time and the instruments to do it, too. For God, there are no barriers.

Moisés Quezada is from the Diocese of the Dominican Republic.

No Hay Barreras de Lenguaje en el Taller de los Jóvenes Adultos

Al entrar al taller “Community Expressions” pensé que el idioma iba a impedir que pudiera entender y sentir lo que allí se iba a compartir, pero me equivoque, mi experiencia fue excelente, ya que danzamos y cantamos; a pesar de que las canciones fueran en diferentes idiomas, pude sentir la emoción que proyectaba el Reverendo y mis hermanos con las alabanzas y el tambor, me di cuenta que no importa de dónde soy y el idioma que hable, siempre que estemos adorando al Señor, Dios nos escucha. También me sentí identificado con la cultura Africana ya que donde yo vengo utilizamos algunos instrumentos como el tambor y la güira, los cuales nos sirven para regocijarnos cuando cantamos a Dios. Te invito a que busques el espacio, el tiempo y los instrumentos para que empieces hacerlo, ya que para Dios no existe barreras.

Moisés Quezada es de la Diócesis de la República Dominicana.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Issues of Equity

By Eileen O’Brien

Issues of equity are receiving consideration in a variety of committee venues.  Today, the Church Pension Fund unanimously approved a proposal for a denominational health plan which will give lay and clergy employees greater parity in terms of access to health insurance.  Resolution A177 will be considered by the House of Bishops tomorrow and has a strong foundation of support.  Resolution A138 also addresses lay and clergy employee parity by putting muscle behind the establishment of a mandatory lay employee pension system, which was resolved in 1991 but not universally enacted across the dioceses. 

What does this legislation have to do with youth and young adults in the church?  By improving clergy and lay parity in terms of compensation and benefits, the church validates its lay professionals and makes traditional lay employee roles (such as youth and young adult ministries) into viable career paths for qualified and called individuals.  Youth ministries in particular suffer from high turnover rates because leadership positions are seen as transitional jobs.  This legislation is a start on the path towards developing a better equipped lay leadership for the church.

Legislation to Follow: B033 & Beyond

The operational theme for General Convention 2009 seems to be reconciliation – reconciliation between humanity and creation, global and ecumenical reconciliation, and reconciliation within our own communities that face the strains of, not only the economic crisis, but a deeper crisis of identity. 

On Thursday, the Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music Committee held hearings on a slew of resolutions dealing with blessings of same sex civil unions/holy unions/marriage.  This hearing was an opportunity for the committee to hear from clergy trying to provide compassionate pastoral care for their parishioners, young people urging the church to model openness and diversity for their communities, and GLBT advocates who called for the church to recognize the grace and blessing of all monogamous, loving relationships.  While the majority of voices at the hearings articulated support for the development of rites for blessing, it was acknowledged that in the church as a whole, there is a lack of broad consensus around the thorny theological issues at the heart of this debate. The House of Deputies will meet in plenary to have a conversation about the same issues on Friday morning.

Friday afternoon, another important piece of legislation related to global reconciliation in response to the Windsor report will be examined through hearings in the World Mission committee.  Resolution D020 calls for the provisional commitment to abide by the Cambridge-Ridley draft of an Anglican Covenant and the commendation of the covenant to dioceses for study and comment.  While it is unlikely that this resolution will pass as written, it would be surprising if it were not commended to the dioceses for study and comment over the next three years.  In effect, dioceses and congregations would be called into a study process which gets at the heart of our identity as a catholic (with a little “c”) denomination.  The Covenant recognizes our interdependence as a global communion and sets up some specific mechanisms for conflict resolution, but will it really serve as “an instrument of unity” or will it simply define more clearly who is in and who is out?  It is naïve to think that such a document can mitigate the need for continued work at reconciliation and relationship across the communion, but will it provide a helpful springboard into the next phase of this process? 

What do you think about the Anglican Covenant? Share your comments at episcopalcommons.org/yaf and track these resolutions throughout General Convention online at episcopalchurch.org/gchub.

Eileen O’Brien is from the Diocese of Texas. 

General Convention: my Church and my church

As a young adult who hasn't yet found a church that fits, General Convention is both my church and my Church.  I get the "So, where are you going to church these days?” question quite often.  My usual response is that my pledge goes to the church I grew up in.  As a young adult my time spent in church buildings has decreased while my spiritual life has blossomed. 

While it might not be on Sunday mornings, the time spent gathered with fellow young adult Christians is the time I feel the closest to God.  General Convention is one of these times for me.  The time spent with friends—those known for years and those I just haven’t met yet—brings me closer to our God.  It is these times that stoke my fire for Young Adult Ministry and remind me why I get so geeked up about working within the church.

Carlton Allen is from the Diocese of Northern California.

Young Adult Festival Begins

by Nicole Seiferth

Young adults from around the world gathered for the opening of the Young Adult Festival on Thursday, July 9 at the Doubletree Hotel.  

“Tonight you could see the excitement everyone has to get involved in the political process and make our presence felt,” said Sarah Tomlinson, an international festival participant from Scotland. “I don’t think we’re going to be quiet while we’re here.” 

The Festival runs through Monday, July 13. Follow the festival via episcopalcommons.org/yaf and look for this newsletter outside the Convention Center every morning. 

Welcome to LA

I’m not a native Angelino. I moved to Los Angeles when I was six years old. It’s here that I’ve grown to love the wonders of creation. Mountains, beaches, hills, valleys, deserts, lakes, ponds, rivers, and plains can all be found here. Beauty and diversity are not only to be found in the landscape, but in its people, who are from every walk of life. With a closer look you will see we are more than coffee shops, and paparazzi. Southern California has much to offer to convention participants. Check out the Anaheim and Los Angeles maps and magazines in your welcome bag -- they’ll tell you almost everything you want to know about this area and what there is to see and do here.

Shawn Evelyn is from the Diocese of Los Angeles and is a member of the YAF design team.

More Than Relaxing

For the past year and a half I have practiced yoga, one of many forms of meditation. With every breath during yoga I begin to see creation differently. I don’t see it as something to use, but as a wonderful gift that I sometimes take for granted. God’s creation is a gift that continues to keep on giving and growing with me as well as with future generations.

Learn more about the power of meditation and the connection between the body and prayer at the Meditation Workshops and the Body Prayer Workshops.

 Andrea De La Torre is from the Diocese Northern California and is a member of the YAF design team.

What is your calling?

There are several tools available to us as Episcopalians that help us listen for and, more importantly, hear our call.  Many of us have heard the call to ordained ministry.  But what about those of us who haven’t heard that call–is there a “discernment process” for us?  

My own journey has taken me from not even thinking about ordained ministry, to seriously considering ordination, and now believing I can do more good in the world as an engineer.

I encourage you to take advantage of all the discernment tools the church offers us, locally and nationally. Attend the discernment workshop sponsored by Vocare. Come listen to the PLSE mentors on Friday night in the lounge. These are both great ways to get started on finding how the church can help you find out where you’re going. 

Carlton Allen is from the Diocese of Northern California and is a member of the YAF design team.

D038: Why You Should Care

Resolution D038 focuses on reaffirming the commitment to become a welcoming church for the Latino/Hispanic community. If passed, this resolution could mean a budget allocation of more than $3 million for Latino/Hispanic development throughout the church. 

D038 is significant because of the increase of the Latino/Hispanic population in the U.S. According to the 2008 census, the U.S. has the second largest Latino population in the world. This resolution will allow the office of Latino/Hispanic ministry to train new leaders, raise awareness, and develop programs of spiritual empowerment for the Latino/Hispanic community.

For information on the progress of this resolution, come to the nightly debriefings in the Lounge at 8pm, visit episcopalchurch.org, or just ask me! 

Nancy Frausto is from the Diocese of Los Angeles and is a member of the YAF design team.

d038: El Porque te Debe de Importar

La resolución D038 se enfoca en reafirmar la promesa de ser una comunidad calorosa hacia los ministerios Latinos/Hispanos. Si esta resolución pasa significa que la oficina del ministerio Latino/Hispano recibirá mas de 3 mil dólares para seguir creciendo la iglesia.

Esta resolución es importante porque los EE.UU. es la segunda nación con más latinos en el mundo. Esta resolución le daría al ministerio Latino los recursos para poder entrenar a líderes, apoyar a las iglesias y empoderar espiritualmente a nuestra comunidad.

Para más información sobre esta resolución no se pierdan las reuniones informativas que tendremos cada noche en el Lounge a las 8 pm, también pueden visitar la página episcopalchurch.org o simplemente pregúntenme.

Nancy Frausto is from the Diocese of Los Angeles and is a member of the YAF design team.

Welcome to the Young Adult Festival

Being involved in the young adult community is being part of a family.  This family helps us grow by seeing things from a broader perspective.  

The young adult community has opened my eyes to see things outside of my community.  This family teaches us new things and helps define us as people.  Aside from helping us learn and grow, this family helps us relax.  Sit back, take a deep breath, kick your heels up, and move forward.  Coming together in these conferences helps us realize that we are not the only young adults in the church.  Not only do we have each other to lean on, we are there to remind each other that we are part of something bigger.  The Young Adult Festival welcomes you. 

Wendy Pineda is from the Diocese of Texas and is a member of the YAF design team.

Harry Akehurst

I'm Harry, a university student from Scotland. I live in Glasgow, Scotland, and I come from a little town in the Scottish Highlands. I am excited to be joining you for this festival, and getting to know Episcopalians from all across America, and the rest of the world. I'm looking forward to the General Convention, particularly its legislative meetings - the inner workings of the church are rarely very exposed to young people in Scotland, and I hope that this opportunity, like the rest of the YAF, will be both interesting and enjoyable.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wendy Pineda

Hi all! This is Wendy from the diocese of Texas and I am very excited for the YAF. I am excited to see old friends and to meet new ones. This will be my second YAF and I am part of the design team, so if you have any questions... Feel free to ask.

Andrea de la Torre

Hola, I am Andrea de la Torre, one of the members of the design team for the Young Adult Festival at General Convention. This will be the first General Convention that I will be attending. I am excited to know all the work and planning that has been done for Young Adult Festival will blossom into a meeting place where we can share our ministries and have fun. I look forward to meeting you. 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Nicole Seiferth

Hi, my name is Nicole Seiferth. I'm on the design team for the Young Adult Festival and look forward to welcoming all of you in Anaheim! This will be my third General Convention and I can say from experience that this gathering of the Church is always an amazing experience. You're going to meet so many inspiring people -- people who in turn will be inspired by you and your stories and ministries. I can promise you lots of fun, lots to think about, lots to take home with you, but probably not a lot of sleep (there's just too much to do and see!). 

In addition to getting to know one another, we have a great opportunity at General Convention to make the wider Church aware of all the many things young adults are doing throughout the church. So don't hesitate to strike up a conversation with someone standing next to you in the Exhibit Hall or go to that reception or gathering for a church ministry that you want to know more about and be involved in. They'll be happy to see you. And, oh, as the editor of our daily YAF newsletter, be sure to take photos while you're there, too, please!

Travel safe and see you in Anaheim.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ewart Jones

I’m Ewart Jones, Missioner for Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Texas.  I am also a member of the Episcopal Church’s Committee for Young Adult Ministry.  On behalf of the CYAM, I want to welcome all participants to the Young Adult Festival.  The festival provides a unique opportunity for young adults from all walks of life to converge in one place and share their experiences of and hopes for the Episcopal Church.  My hope is that you will find our time “Together” enlightening, encouraging and empowering.  See you in Anaheim!

Bill Slocumb

My name is Bill Slocumb, I am was born and raised in the Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas.  Now I work for Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers, a resources desk for camp and retreat ministry centers and directors.  And I am most excited to reconnect with old friends, make new friends and just listening about other Young Adult programs.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wendy Arleene Barrett Buchanan

Hola, eres un adulto joven? Pues si lo eres, estas en una de las mejores etapas de crecimiento dentro de tu vida en la iglesia, es cuando realmente comienzas a entender como se manejan los ministerios, los cánones, los sacramentos y todas esas cosas de las cuales has escuchado hablar desde que eras un niño o niña y adolescente y ahora durante este gran evento como lo es la tan esperada Convención General de nuestra iglesia conocerás a fondo como se toman decisiones dentro de la jerarquía de nuestra iglesia y al mismo tiempo tendrás oportunidad de conocer a seres humanos maravillosos que sienten como tu, que tiene ganas de servir al Señor como tu, que lo aman como tu, y que quieren buscar nuevas formas de hacerlo como tu.

Personas que saben de tu necesidad quieren compartir sus conocimientos y experiencias contigo por medio de talleres, momentos de oración y adoración y momentos de recreación.

Te aseguro no te arrepentirás, te lo digo por experiencia propia, soy Wendy Arleene Barrett Buchanan de la Diócesis de Honduras y me encantaría que tu también pudieras vivir esta experiencia.

Rosie Dickson

I'm Rosie Dickson and will be travelling from Scotland to join everyone at the Young Adult Festival. I'm a student nurse at Robert Gordon's University in Aberdeen and have just completed my second year of training. A good friend of mine suggested I join her at the YAF because I was involved in the International Anglican Youth Network's presence at last years Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. While there I met some wonderful Christians from across the world and hope to do the same this summer in Anaheim. I love the diversity of the Episcopal Church and think it is wonderful to have such a big event specifically for "the youth" running alongside the General Convention. I look forward to the discussions that will be had, the friendships that will be and most of all the fellowship shared with those from across the USA and the world.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rebecca Greenlee, IL

I am Rebecca Greenlee, from the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois. I am a senior in Comparative Literature and French at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am very excited about the festival because I went to Gather in Estes Park, CO and it was an amazing experience. There is nothing more refreshing and fantastic than a bunch of Episcopalians together to discuss the church, and life in general. It is amazing to see so many different people traveling from around the nation and world to work for the same goals, and a brilliant way to make new friends that inevitably last, while expanding our minds and opportunities. And I must say, I am incredibly fond of the Episcopal church.

Doug Hexel, NY

I'm Doug Hexel and I'm originally from Poughkeepsie, NY.  I'm a Senior at the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Cadet-in-Charge of the West Point Canterbury Club.  I also attended Gather 2008 out in Colorado in December.  I made a lot of great friends out there and got some new perspectives on life.  I'm looking forward to a similar experience.  I'm also looking forward to the Reception by the President of the House of Deputies.  Thanks.


We've asked all the Young Adult Festival participants to send in a quick introduction and what they're excited about at the festival & GC2009! Keep posted to see who's going to be showing up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A New Resource

Howdy! Welcome to one part of Young Adult Voices, a network of places and web-places where young adults in the church can share their thoughts, hear from others and make themselves heard. We invite your contributions at any time, but the high traffic moments will be during festivals, gatherings and special moments in the life of the church, like General Convention 2009. We'll be gathering submissions all through the festival, July 9-14, from participants, observers and deputies, so check in early and often and hear what young adults are saying. And, hey, if you can't be there but want to hear about something, send a message or a comment and we'll find someone to explore and report back. See you in Anaheim!