Taking Shape: an Episcopal Youth Community

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

You might be under the impression that youth at Holy Family “attend EYC,” or that we “have EYC” on Sunday evenings, or that I – the Youth Minister – “run EYC.”  While we say these sorts of things often enough, the best way to describe the youth activities at Holy Family is that we are “becoming an EYC – an Episcopal Youth Community.”

One of the great joys we experience each year is welcoming in new youth and teaching them the rhythms of our life together.  Some of these rhythms are a bit like a schedule: We play, we talk, we pray; we eat, we worship.  Some of these rhythms are ways we try to be together: we try to love one another; we ask and receive forgiveness; all visible cell phones get eaten by our cell phone monster; we stay at the table until the meal ends; we clean up our dishes and the Parish Hall.  Returning youth just seem to pick-up right where we left of from last year.  For the new youth, it’s all strange, new and exciting… but now even in week two, we begin to see them catching the rhythm.  They’re learning the rhythm of our common life and a rhythm through which God is shaping us as an EYC.

And yet, this is no mere repeat of last year, for the people are not quite the same.  We worship like last year, but this year a new youth worship leader – Jacob – is sharing his gifts and enriching our worship time.  We have “mentors” like last year, but this year 12th graders Eli and Savannah join our mentor team and the middle schoolers are curious and buzzing about their presence in Jr. EYC.  We always have new youth, but this year Sr. EYC receives a bunch of new 9th graders and Jr. EYC is piled high with new 6th graders, all jazzed to be entering the next phase.  All new arrangements of people, so no “givens” for how it will all go.  All new arrangements of people, so new friendships beginning to form.  All new arrangements of people, so no chance of just cruising on autopilot along last year’s course.

And so an “EYC” is taking shaping.  If you’re of age, join us.  Otherwise, please pray that among this group of people the youth of our parish will receive the love of Christ, hear Christ’s call upon their lives, and respond to both in simple and faithful ways.

Youth Voice Interests for April EYCs

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

With only a few EYCs left this year in April, we wanted to give youth one more opportunity to raise topics and questions for our discussions.  This past Sunday, we polled Jr EYC, and this is what we received:

What Things Don’t We Discuss at Church That We Probably Should?

  1. Stress and staying positive when we feel down
  2. How to be inclusive when there are things about other people that annoy us
  3. Things about ourselves that are good; things that others see in us that we sometimes don’t see
  4. How to deal with bullying in school
  5. Adapting to new things
  6. Loosing faith in God after a traumatic event, because he wasn’t there to help you through it
  7. How we spend our free time
  8. Our futures
  9. Dealing with failure

What Question Should We Explore Together?

  1. Why are all the set-ups of the altar different at each service?
  2. If someone is mean to you and keeps being mean to you, how are you supposed to forgive them?
  3. Why is it so easy to lose faith in God and so hard to believe?
  4. What is your favorite part of being a Christian?
  5. Is hell a real physical place?  What does it take to go, if so?
  6. What’s a good way to pray
  7. What makes you happy?

Looks like we’ll have some good discussions together in April!

Empezar la reunión

By Paul Cizek

Our mission is “to be an Episcopal Youth Community – an EYC…”  But, what does it take for us to be an EYC?  How do we go about this work together?

One thing it means that we have Family Meetings in Jr. and Sr. EYC from time to time to discuss our common life.  In years past, the Youth Commission and Youth Minister made decisions about where we’d go on our retreats and what we’d do during the Christmas party.  But today is a new day and things have changed, and we’re handing these decisions over to the Jr. and Sr. EYC Board of Directors.

The Jr. and Sr. EYC Board of Directors is comprised of Jr. and Sr. EYC youth and mentors, and is chaired by the Youth Minister.  Agendas are distributed.  Business attire is required (and supplied).  Accents or foreign language (or applying your finger to your nose) are required to speak.  We keep things orderly by means of measuring cup, big honking dictionary, or cow bell.  We vote saying “Yea” or “Nay.”  And we take minutes on colorful paper.

Ridiculous?  Perhaps, but we do good work.  And most importantly, we’re discovering together what it’s like for us to be an Episcopal Youth Community.

Plotting the Jr. EYC Lock-In and Sr. Beach Trip

This past Sunday, Jr. and Sr. EYC did some planning for our common life together.  In particular, What should we do during the Jr. EYC Lock-in? and What should we do on the Sr. EYC Beach Trip?  Here’s what we came up with.

Jr. EYC Lock-in, Nov. 2-3:

Main Event: Frankies Fun Park in Raleigh

Group game back at church: Grog!

Movies to watch between 11pm and 7am:

– The Adventures of Tintin

– Eragon

– Finding Nemo

– The Goonies

– Spirited Away

Sr. EYC Beach Trip, Oct. 19-21:

Wake-up – 8:30

Breakfast: Pancakes, Bacon, assorted fruit, coffee, juice, and oatmeal

Group time on Beach: Sand Sculpture contest and some free time

Lunch: grilled cheese and tomato soup

Afternoon: free time

Dinner: Grilling out, or Tacos

Movie: Star Wars, or, Cheaper by the Dozen

Evening: Capture the Flag

Devotions interspersed throughout day

Excited for both!  Don’t miss out.  Sign-up soon.