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.

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