Beyond the Jargon of “Outreach”

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

Holy Family has long prioritized “outreach.” We consistently go beyond our campus walls into our surrounding communities and sometimes even abroad. And when we go beyond our walls, we believe we’re following where our Lord Jesus has already gone: to be with the poor, lonely, sick, and imprisoned. Outreach matters in this parish.

But what is “outreach?” A buzzword? Just jargon? “Outreach” is certainly a bit abstract and perhaps a bit vague. So what is it… and why do we do it? Lots of people volunteer or earn service hours. So why do we as a church believe that our outreach has anything to do with following Jesus – with being Christians?

Over the next few months, Holy Family’s youth will have an opportunity to explore these questions through classroom discussions and hands-on experience:

Middle School Sunday School is in the middle of a six week exploration of outreach.  Diane Steinhaus launched the discussion in week 1 with some big questions about outreach (“What is outreach? Why do it?) and in the weeks to come various members of Holy Family will visit the class to share stories and pictures about their work with Habitat for Humanity, Prison Ministry, South Sudan, and more.

Between now and May, middle and high school youth will also have the opportunity to visit Carolina Meadows and the Goodwill Farm.  These two sites were chosen by youth preparing for Confirmation through Youth Journey in Faith.  At the farm, youth will work in a garden that provides food for the poor, and at Carolina Meadows youth will teach residents basic computer/internet skill for keeping in touch with their families (i.e. Skyping).

In all this, pray that “outreach” becomes a concrete and tangible way in which our youth learn to follow Jesus.

Growing in friendship with God

In Sunday School and EYC, we join together to learn and remember rhythms of life with God.  We pray with and for one another.  We share feasts large and small.  We hear and respond to God’s word.  We ask hard questions.   We lift up our voices in songs of praise.  We practice giving ourselves for others.  We share our thanksgivings and concerns.  We imagine what God’s kingdom is like.  We consider how we might use our gifts for the life of the world.  In order for these rhythms of faith to lead us into deeper friendship with God, they must become rhythms of our daily life.

This year during Sunday School, children and youth of all ages will work together toward five objectives that nourish us in friendship with God:

  1. Develop a vocabulary of faith and grow familiar with the biblical narrative.
  2. Connect Scripture to experience.
  3. Grow familiar with a host of devotional practices, including daily prayer.
  4. Articulate and practice self-giving.
  5. Articulate and practice belonging to the Church.

Each week, parents will receive an e-mail with information about what’s going on in Sunday School.  These emails are sent with hopes that they can encourage you to  continue the praying, wondering, question-asking, singing, and Scripture-reading at home.  We pray that through Sunday School we grow into deeper friendship with God.  And we trust that the children and youth of our parish will grow in friendship with God outside the walls of our parish as well as within them.




Youth Appalachia Service Project: Update

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

Since launching Holy Family’s first Appalachia Service Project this past January, much has happened.  Here’s the scoop:

  • For those who don’t know, Appalachia Service Projects (ASP) are week long mission trips for youth 14-18 years old in the Appalachian mountain region.  Teams of 5 youth and 2 adults do light construction projects to help make homes in the region warmer, safer, and drier for those in need.  ASP has been in operation for over 40 years.
  • 11 youth and 4 adults have joined the Holy Family crews, making up two work crews.  10 of us are members of Holy Family and the other 5 are friends of our youth.
  • Our week of ASP is July 21-27.  We will be working in Watauga, NC, just north of Boone, NC.  We will be staying at a local elementary school, eating in the cafeteria, and sleeping in classrooms.  Each work crew will work at one home in Watauga for the whole week.
  • We have begun and will continue our preparations for ASP on a few Sunday afternoons this summer.  During these times, we will get to know one another through games and activities, we’ll learn a little bit about the Appalachian region and Watauga, we’ll learn some basic carpentry skills to  get familiar with hammers, saws, tape measures, and chalk lines.  We’ll also eat together and clean-up together to nurture our bodies and our common life, and begin learning how to live together and work together.

Please keep us in your prayers as we explore this work with ASP in western North Carolina.  May we discover that Christ is already there among the poor when we arrive.

Youth Engage Hunger in Chapel Hill (or, Why We Crop Walk)

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

Take a moment to consider food and the lack of food.

  1. What’s your favorite food?
  2. When is the last time you were hungry for a significant period of time?  How long was it?  Could you control when you ate next?
  3. Name at least three things it’s hard to do when you’re hungry.
  4. How many kids do you think are at risk of going hungry on a daily basis in Chapel Hill/Carrboro?

Now watch this video about TABLE, a Chapel Hill/Carrboro based program that sends at risk kids home with food over the weekend (when school subsidized meals aren’t available).  TABLE is supported by Chapel Hill’s Inter-Faith Council.

  1. What caught you’re attention?
  2. How will you respond?

Consider the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Crop Walk as one way to respond to kids in need in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.  On April 21 at 2:30pm, Holy Family will join in this 4 mile walk to raise awareness about local hunger and raise funds to help prevent hunger locally and abroad.  25% of funds raised stay local with Chapel Hill’s Inter-Faith Council (and this is a really important fundraiser for the IFC).  75% of the funds will go abroad through Church World Service towards refugee and disaster relief.Crop Walk

  • Will you walk in the Crop Walk?
  • Will you give money to sponsor a walker (or yourself)?
  • If you give money, how much will you give?  How much do you think your food costs each day?

As one youth once said, “Crop Walk isn’t a huge sacrifice!” And this true, but it’s a start. Let’s start here and perhaps the Spirit will lead us beyond.

EYC Ski Trip: Beech Mountain and Valle Crucis

Greetings Youth Families,

It’s certainly not cold outside, but it is December and so it’s time to start thinking about the EYC 2013 Ski Trip!  Trip dates: Feb. 8-10.

This year, the Youth Commission would like to resurrect an older model of ski trip: We’ll drive out Friday evening; stay Friday and Saturday at the beautiful Episcopal conference center: Valle Crucis; ski Saturday at Beech Mountain; return Sunday.

Youth Families: consider coming along!  We’ll be caravanning to Valle Crucis, so we’ll need a few parent drivers and chaperons.  There will be beds to sleep on at Valle Crucis.  Skiers and non-skiers are welcomed and needed as chaperons.  Please be in touch if you are interested in coming along:  Thanks.

Information and Permission forms available on the EYC bulletin board.  I will also hang out in the Library this Sunday evening at 7:40, after the EYC Christmas Party, to answer questions parents may have about the weekend.  Don’t hesitate to be in touch with questions:

Full and partial scholarships are available, so please do not let cost inhibit participation.  Just be in touch:

This should be an awesome weekend, so hope many can join us!

Ski Trip 2012

New Summer Retreat for Holy Family Youth

I’m pleased and excited to announce a potential new summer offering for youth at Holy Family: the Appalachia Service Project (ASP).

ASP is a one week summer service retreat for youth 14-18 years old.  We’ll travel to the Appalachian Mountains, meet-up with nearly a hundred other youth, do building project and home repair projects for families who need help (no building experience needed), get to know these families as we work with them on their homes, and live in a nearby school for the week.  It’s active, hands on, relational, and an extremely reasonable cost for a week long program.

What do you think?  Would you like to come along? (We’ll need a few chaperons, too!)

In order to move forward, a few things need to happen.  If you are interested, please plan to attend an information meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 19th, at 7:30 in the Library.  At this meeting, we will go over retreat information, answer questions, and determine which week in June or July will work for our group.  If you cannot attend this meeting but are interested in the retreat, please email me ASAP:

Again, I’m excited about this possibility for our youth and hope you are, too!  I know that some high schools will accepted ASP as fulfillment for school required service hours – if that might persuade those of you on the fence.  Hope to see many families out on Dec. 19th at 7:30!