Ariana reflects on General Convention Official Youth Presence

Just about three months have passed since the General Convention of the Episcopal Church adjourned in mid-July. I have asked youth who participated in the General Convention Episcopal Youth Presence (GCOYP) to reflect on their experiences, what it meant and how it continues to have an effect on their lives.

This first reflection is by Ariana Gonzalez-Bonillas, Province 8 participant from the Diocese of Arizona.

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Hope as the Episcopal Church
by Ariana Gonzalez-Bonillas

Day after day after day I think about my time at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church as part of the General Convention Official Youth Presence of 2012.

GCOYP, Province VIII: Ariana and Patrick

No vote, all voice, and a loud one too, both figuratively and literally. All other 17 voices of my fellow GCOYP 2012 have made an impression not only on the 77th General Convention, but on my life as well.

In April, when all the GCOYP met each other for the first time, I knew that I was going to learn something about the Episcopal Church and all these young adults I was going to be stuck with for ten straight days in July, I just underestimated what a lasting impression they would leave.

At the end of those three days in April, they were already stuck on my heart. (We’re all at that awkward stage where we are teenagers, half-adults, half-children, half-serious, half-play, and its only fun to be awkward together.) We made our own decisions, but we also followed each other around like ducklings from time to time, just for the fun of it.

In times of seriousness at legislative sessions or hearings, we tried to support each other as much as we could. At a committee hearing for C040, a resolution about Open Table, at 7:30 in the morning, 7:00 for those of us that wanted to speak, some of the GCOYP came just to support the speakers. For those of us speaking, three of us were for open table and one of us against it, and yet we were all nervous to speak in front of a full room and committee.

We respected each other’s opinions and listened to each other’s reasons and that is the kind of respect I wished I saw every day. We even congratulated each other on speaking and delivering our message well. Another way I say support was for me personally with my Dream Act resolution, D067.

The adults, our friends and temporary parents that are still young at heart, read my resolution to make sure I got my point across. The deputies that helped turn in my resolution helped make my idea into a reality. Of the GCOYP, there were two speakers at the first hearing for D067, and more than two supporters for each of us.

I am so grateful to those that got up super early just to sit there and watch Nora and I to speak at 7:30 for a resolution that did not even have to matter to them. Also, the ones that did speak at the second hearing for the resolution and had stories to tell are amazing in my eyes.

Being a part of the GCOYP was amazing, not just because of the friendships I made and hope to keep strong, but because of the support I could see from those friendships and from the entire Episcopal Church. It gives me hope, not as the future of Church, but as the Episcopal Church.

Thanks for being a friend and a temporary parent that is still young at heart :),

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