After Graduation: How You Can Help Young People Connect with Faith Communities

We are again fortunate to welcome the Rev. Shannon Kelly as our guest blogger. Her topic for today is how we can help young people connect with new faith communities as they transition out of high school and into college or new jobs.

Making Connections

young_adultWhen any of us leave one community and move to the next, either because of school or jobs or life, there is a huge period of transition, of finding your way around, of making new connections, and wondering what life in this new place will be like or with whom you might make friends.

For young people, this is an especially daunting task because this is usually the first time they have done this alone, without family or friends.

In our service of Holy Baptism, those present make a significant promise, that can be all too easily forgotten once children grow up and begin moving away.  In the service, we ask, “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?” and the congregation responds, “We will.” This powerful moment in the service is evidence that our lives as Christians are not just individual journeys, but journeys of community and commitment to one another.

As young people graduate, get jobs, go off to school, or are in various states of transition, we need to remember this promise.

A few weeks ago, the Rev. Canon John W. Newton reminded us in his guest blog post how a simple phone call can change the life of a young person. Helping each other make connections and transition into new communities can make a huge difference and is one way we can continue to “uphold these persons in their life in Christ” even if they are no longer worshipping with us regularly.

The Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministries invites you to help young people connect with new faith communities.  You may not personally know if there is a campus ministry or a young adult community near to where the young person is moving, but we can help with our online map and database of young adult and campus ministries.

Do you know a young person moving away?  Help them find a community by making a phone call, sending them a link to the nearby church, or both!

Are you part of a campus or young adult ministry not on our map?

Make sure you have filled in the information survey so that we have the most up-to-date information about you. Your ministry will be mapped! Once your ministry has been added, you can submit changes using the same form.

Taizé in the Far West: 18 to 35 year olds apply now

Taize on Red Shirt

On May 24th through 27th, 2013, 18-35 year olds from across the country will gather in Red Shirt, South Dakota, a tiny village at the edge of the Badlands on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for a landmark event. Taizé in the Far West will include meditative prayer, Bible study, workshops, small group sharing, and meals together – all provided by the hospitality of the local Lakota people with cooperation and participation of the Taizé community in France.

Why is such a gathering important?

People often have a romantic image of Native American people drawn from films and novels. However, in recent times the media has increasing shown another face of life on Pine Ridge and other reservations. The story told now is often one of unremitting poverty, violence, and despair.

The young people there have another story to tell, one that avoids both extremes of idealization and hopelessness. In welcoming young adults from other parts of North America, they want to share their joy as well as their pain, highlighting both the priceless gifts of an age-old way of life and the great difficulties in continuing this way of life and adapting it to contemporary society.

“When we travel to visit other peoples and cultures,” said Brother Alois of the Taizé community, “we go above all to listen. In going to Pine Ridge we want to listen carefully to the story of the Lakota people, and listen together to what the Spirit is saying to us all in our attempt to create a world of solidarity and peace. Only by coming together beyond our differences in a climate of prayer and sharing can we find new ways forward.”

If you will be 18 by the date of the event, please consider participating. Practical information, including registration and lodging details, is available on the website.

You can be a YASCer

thebaptized

From the YASC blog, One Holy Name.

The Episcopal Church’s Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) will be accepting applications for 2013-2014 until January 4, 2013.

The December 16 weekly bulletin insert from the Episcopal Church promotes this fantastic opportunity. I encourage you to work with your faith community to distribute this information as widely as you can.

“YASC provides an opportunity for young adults to explore their faith in a new capacity and to live out the Baptismal Covenant by seeking and serving Christ in all persons,” noted the Rev. David Copley, Mission Personnel Officer. “Applicants must have a high degree of maturity and possess a faith commitment and the willingness to be a humble guest, and the ability to be an authentic companion.”
Current YASC members work in administration, agriculture, development, education, and technology. In 2012-2013, they are serving in Brazil, Costa Rica, Haiti, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, the Philippines, South Africa, Switzerland, and Tanzania.

Possible placements for 2013-2014 include Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, the Philippines, South Africa, and Taiwan.

Young adults between the ages of 21-30 can fill out the application at www.episcopalchurch.org/yasc.

For more information, please contact Katie Webb in the Mission Personnel Office: kwebb@episcopalchurch.org; (212) 716-6124.

Read the thoughts and reflections of the YASCers on their blogs.

Apply for Young Adult Service Corps

Have some of your former youth ministry participants graduated and are now looking to discern their calling in a broader context?

I have often found that traveling outside our comfort zones and exploring other cultures offers rich opportunities for discernment. The Episcopal Church offers fantastic opportunities for young adults to provide service and share their expertise worldwide through the Young Adult Service Corps.

Commonly known as YASC, applications for 2013-14 are now being accepted for the Young Adult Service Corps from young adults between the ages of 21-30.

Download the application for the 2013-14 YASC year is available online at www.episcopalchurch.org/yasc   The application deadline is January 4, 2013.

Where are the YASC?
Current YASC members can be found throughout the Anglican Communion. They are working in administration, agriculture, development, education, and technology. They are serving in Brazil, Costa Rica, Haiti, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, the Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania.

Read their thoughts and reflections on their blogs at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/young-adult-service-corps-blogs

Possible placements for 2013-14 include Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama,  the Philippines, South Africa and Taiwan.

For more information contact Katie Webb at kwebb@episcopalchurch.org or (212) 716-6124.

[posted on November 1, 2012 Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs]