Welcome to Mission Mondays

We’re kicking off a new series at EpiscoYouth this week called Mission Mondays.

Mission Mondays

Across the Youth Ministry Network of the Episcopal Church, there is a great diversity of activities in the name of “mission.”

Commonly, youth groups, dioceses, and even provincial groups plan and execute Summer Mission Trips. Some groups are experienced in connecting with partners in short term mission, some contract with professional agencies for deployment to a mission site, and some simply venture forth with good intentions but with little preparation and planning.

It is our hope that we can begin to build capacity across the Episcopal Youth Ministry Network for meaningful mission engagement by sharing excellent resources and stories of transformation in the midst of mission.

We want to help our congregations discern the difference between taking youth on a summer adventure in which they engage in some sweat equity to help others, and preparing to be transformed by entering into a partnership to embrace God’s mission in the world through cultural exchanges, pilgrimages, and service learning.

We want to help congregations engage in educational strategies to discern if they are called to spend the time and effort organizing travel or to engage local learning and fundraising to respond to an identified need.

 “It is a matter of calling the near and the far off together into the fold. It is about healing and reconciling. It is about making that love incarnate in the lives of people around us and in the lives of people on the other end of the earth.” – The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, The Episcopal Church, May 19, 2012.

We offer you the Five Marks of Mission as a reminder and a template for how we are called to act upon the Baptismal promises we have made. We hope to journey with you as we collectively respond to human need in loving service.

We will be releasing a new resource, “Episcopal Youth in Mission,” chapter by chapter, until the resource is complete. The Episcopal Youth Event Mission Planning Team will also be making this resource a core piece of learning for participants who will be joining us in Philadelphia next summer for the Episcopal Youth Event (EYE’14)

And we want to hear your stories. Please share with us your stories of when you – youth and adults – have been transformed through active mission engagement, at home and abroad.

Summer Mission Trips and Pilgrimages: Share Your Story

NJ Mission

I found this article in my web wanderings yesterday: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church participates in mission trip to Vermont (NJ News). Take a minute to look it over. It’s a great story about a congregation engaging with a nearby community in much-needed work.

It’s always great to see our faith communities get media coverage for the good work they are doing.

Did a story about your summer mission trip or pilgrimage appear in your local paper or on your website?

If it did, share the link below.

Mission: Discovering the Greatness of God’s People

Join me in welcoming guest blogger the Reverend Abigail W. Moon, Associate Rector at St John’s Episcopal Church, Tallahassee. Abi is familiar to many from several years in youth ministry in various dioceses of Province IV and her work with the Episcopal Youth Event in 2011. It is always an honor to share Abi’s wisdom and reflections with my friends and colleagues across the church.

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Province IV Youth Short Term Mission Team in Quito, Ecuador

On July 9-19, a team of 25 (18 youth and 7 adults) gathered together for the first time to venture out as a Short Term Mission Team to partner with Youth World in Quito, Ecuador.

Like any mission team, this group listened to God’s call for them to take a step out of the comfort zone, to learn something new and to be transformed.

Working with Cameron Graham Vivanco, an Episcopal missionary through South American Mission Society, the team met their brothers and sisters at Buen Pastor. Together they gathered around the table for meals, for worship, for teaching and for laughter. Together, side by side, they taught Vacation Bible School, made concrete, plastered walls, and painted the walls of Buen Pastor.

Everything we did could have been done by anyone – we were not the only folks who could do the labor. In being present and working alongside the parishioners of Buen Pastor, we worked and learned not only how to make concrete the old fashioned way, we also learned how to grow in relationship – the old fashioned way – through time, presence and sharing.

In broken Spanglish, we loved, laughed, and lived with our new family and listened to what God was stirring in both us and the community of which we were a part.

God plants seeds in each of us, mission teams are one way to gather around the table with those who might not look like ourselves, sound like ourselves, and to discover the greatness of God’s Kingdom and the vastness of the church!

For more information regarding the Province IV Youth Short Term Mission Team, visit our blog: pyequito2013.blogspot.com

For more information about wonderful ministries in Quito and how you can support them click the links below:

Education Equals Hope

Youth World

The Vivanco Ministry in Ecuador

The Most Important Word in the Bible

PilgrimageToday I welcome as guest blogger Wendy Johnson, who works with my office as a social media consultant. Since taking her first job in youth ministry in 1999, Wendy has been an vocal advocate for the power of youth mission and pilgrimage experiences.

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Mission WITH Meaning

Mission trips and pilgrimages often form the cornerstone of youth ministry programs.

For most of us in youth ministry, our summer trips are behind us and we are taking a week or two break before we start preparing anew for next year’s program. That makes this the perfect time to reflect on our recent mission experience and to consider ways to continue to deepen our ministry.

This article by Sara Miles, The Most Important Word in the Bible, appeared on Episcopal Cafe a couple of days ago. Sara is Director of Ministry at St Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco and she’s the author of Take This Bread, Jesus Freak, and the upcoming release, City of God. As a lay person working in a church renown for its deep relationship with the community, Sara has been a consistent voice for grounded, faithful service and mission.

Having had the opportunity to travel on countless mission trips and pilgrimages over the years, I believe in the transformative power of these experiences. That’s why I highly commend this article to your reading and I hope that it inspires new dialogue in your faith community about how we can create ministry opportunities focused on abiding WITH rather than working FOR.

And, of course, I welcome your thoughts and impressions on this important topic.

God be with you.

UNESCO launches a call for projects driven by young people

UNESCOThe United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has launched a call for projects in order to identify and support 15 action projects (3 by region) which will be “certified” with the label “8th UNESCO Youth Forum” and implemented by, with and for young women and men between the 8th and the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum (October 2013-October 2015).

UNESCO’s call for projects launched Friday July 12, 2013  and is open to all young women and men who are members of a youth-led or youth-focused organization, project leaders or young entrepreneurs active in an established Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). The projects should focus on innovative and concrete actions that can help achieve positive change for, with and by young women and men on issues including social inclusion, civic engagement and participation, social entrepreneurship and innovation, prevention of violence and conflicts, intercultural dialogue, democracy and skills development.

Young people are invited to submit their proposals for an innovative action project in their community, country or region, by filling the submission form by August 12, 2013, International Youth Day, midnight, Paris time.

After receiving these proposals, an independent international jury will pre-select 45 projects by the end of September 2013 and their initiators will be invited to submit one-minute video describing their project so that these 45 short films can be visible online by mid-October 2013.

During the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum, the young participants will examine and discuss the 45 pre-selected projects with a view to choosing a total of 15 (3 youth-led action projects per the five UNESCO regions). On 31 October 2013, the 15 projects awarded the “8th UNESCO Youth Forum” label will be announced and presented at the 37th UNESCO General Conference, in November 2013.

More information? Visit the UNESCO call for projects website or email youth@unesco.org.

I would love to hear if your youth group or faith community takes the step of submitting a proposal. Please email me or post in the comments below.