Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Future of Youth Ministry in WNY

When things change it can be hard, even painful. Times of change can also be a time for new dreams and exciting new ideas.

   After 13 years as our diocesan Youth Missioner Jay Phillippi is stepping down. A lot of thought went in that decision by Jay and the Bishop. While having a friend, mentor and leader move on is sad it's also a time filled with great potential.

   Beginning in January Bishop Bill is inviting everyone interested in ministry to young people to join a process of thinking about what we really want and need from our youth ministry programs. To give everyone the time to think and talk about that he has decided to suspend youth ministry events in the diocese from the beginning of the year until implementation dates for future events can be established. During that quiet time everyone can look at what we have done, how we've done it and think about how we can do ministry for youth, children and young adults. The goal is to think beyond our current boundaries. What still fulfills our needs should be kept, things that have outlived their usefulness should be gratefully retired. In the end we should be able to create a vital ministry ready to care for the young people (children, youth and young adults) in the 21st Century. A consultant has been appointed to help us with that process.

   It is important to note that Bishop Bill is NOT suspending the trip to the 2014 Episcopal Youth Event (EYE). Planning for that event will move forward.

   Youth ministry is very important to our life as a diocese and to Bishop Bill's ministry as our bishop. Give thanks for the work that has been done in the past and join together to find our path into the future.

The Bishop will be staying in touch with the youth of the diocese and to keep them informed as we move forward to expand the web of grace.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Adult Training Day

A day dedicated to training adults who work with youth in core concepts and guidelines. 

The goal of this training day is to insure that adults working with youth ministries are 
prepared to maintain the highest quality programs.  The training will review concepts 
underlying all youth ministries, plus cover the basic guidelines for diocesan youth events 
and leaders. 

The training is intended to cover two  groups of adult leaders: 

  • This training is REQUIRED for anyone who works with any  diocesan youth event or 

                    program (Camps, Happening, Journeys, Bishop's Ball, Bishop's Overnight, etc). 

  • It is designed to support and train adults working with youth in the congregational setting. 

There is no cost for the training

You should bring a lunch with you. 

Date : Saturday, December 7, 2013 
Time : 9 AM to 3 PM 
Location - Church of the Good Shepherd, 
96 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo 
Registration Required.  Download registration form HERE 
or register online HERE

E-mail - Eyouthwny@gmail.com 
Phone - (716)320-0733

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Safe Church Training Date - December 4

The next scheduled Safe Church Training event in the Diocese of Western New York is scheduled for December 4, 9a-4p at Trinity Church, 371 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo.  There is no fee for this training.  The training is done in two sections.

  • The Church: A Safe Place for Children will run from 9 am till Noon.
  • The Church: A Safe Place for Adults will run from 1 pm till 4 pm
Sign in will take place at 8:30 and it is important that people be in place to begin promptly at 9.

You can take just one of the two sections if you choose.  If you are doing both you will need to bring a brown bag lunch.

Pre-registration is required!  A minimum of 10 registrations for each section are needed in order for each course to be offered on this date.

(Go to www.episcopalwny.org and look under 
"Diocesan Life" and "Educational Opportunities")

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Episcopal Youth Event deadline is very, VERY near

It's one of the most incredible things I've gotten to do as your Youth Missioner.  Only General Convention is more amazing.

So I would hate it if you missed out on it.

The Episcopal Youth Event (EYE).  Want to know more?  Check out this previous post on the subject (So What's An E.Y.E?)  There are pictures and everything.

The deadline is approaching for applications.  Now you may say "Yeah, but deadlines are kind of, well, fluid in Western New York.  They always get extended".

Not this one.

Because of the level of work needed to prepare for the event Youth Commission decided to create a HARD DEADLINE.  That means no extensions.  No excuses.  No late arrivals.  No "I forgot.  I'll get it to you tomorrow".


Don't even ask.

If I don't have it by the time the mail arrives on Monday, November 4 the application window closes.  And locks.

It looks like this will be the least expensive EYE trip in a while.  The registration fee is low and we're looking at the least expensive travel option (train, anyone?).  We'll be doing fundraising to help folks who need financial help.  You can always withdraw later (but you'll regret it) if it's just not possible but don't miss out on the chance right now.

Next Monday.

Hard Deadline.

Application download Link

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Bishop and the Ducks

If you've spent any time in the last couple years in the Diocese of WNY you know that there is this long running tradition that connects our bishop (R. William Franklin) and rubber ducks.  In his office you will shelves of ducks.  It began at a confirmation class.  I asked Kayli Christ, one of the young people in that class, to tell the story of the Bishop and the Ducks:

"Beginning of the duck.
Many people wonder how the duck became about. So here's the story. The saying "Wanna buy a duck" was taught at church camp, but most people had forgot about it except for the youth at St. Patrick's in Cheektowaga. In December of 2011 9 of the youth were going to be confirmed. Before the confirmation we had a breakfast with the Bishop where he was going to ask us questions about what we had learned through the confirmation classes. Well St. pats didn't want to answer them so we replied with "wanna buy a duck" and we had kept the Bishop very busy with that question. At first the Bishop thought that we were actually selling ducks. As every youth event has passed the question "wanna buy a duck" came by and he caught on. Almost two years later the duck lives on. For example at the Bishops Ball the Bishop was presented with a duck cookie, or at St. Matthews in Buffalo, where 2 of their youth were being confirmed, there was the " rise of the duck". But as the start, everyone can thank the St. Patrick's youth for the duck!"

There's also a rubber duck tradition at Senior High Conference that goes back even farther.  Why we are so stuck on rubber ducks is anyone's guess.  But we have a good time.  Thanks to Kayli for sharing this story.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Busy Couple of Weeks Coming Up!

Lots of things on the schedule in the next couple weeks -

  • October 20 - Youth Missioner visits St. Aiden in Alden
  • October 20 -Youth Commission meets at 2 PM at St. Patricks Cheektowaga.  Training for the Convention Youth Reps will take place after the Commission meeting.  We hope to start that training at 4 and be done 5-ish
  • October 25-26 - CONVENTION!!!!!   The governing body of our diocese.  In Niagara Falls on Friday and Saturday.  The Youth Missioner (along with lots of other people) will be there the entire time.
  • October 27 - Youth Missioner visits at St Peters Westfield
  • October 27 - Walking the property in Westfield to help dream about what can be done with it.   Download the flyer HERE  (Download link, right click and save)

Friday, September 27, 2013

EYE Deadline Reminder

The Episcopal Youth Event is a triennial (once every three years) event that draws together young people from all over The Episcopal Church.  That means all of the United States plus dioceses in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia plus military chaplaincies and other organizations from around the world.  I take a closer look at the event in THIS POST.

At the moment what we need to focus on is this:

There are 24 slots available for youth in our diocese.
That's all we get.  That's all ANYBODY gets.
When those are gone, they're gone.

(There are a maximum of 6 adult slots.  The number of young people going
will decide how many adults we need.  Everything that follows applies to adults too)

In years past we were pretty relaxed about getting in applications and who was going and such stuff.


The HARD Deadline for applications is November 3, 2013.

A hard deadline means the application must be in my hands by that date.

Not in the mail.

Not waiting to be signed.

No excuses or explanations.

If we don't have it by 5 PM on November 3, 2013 you will not be considered for the trip.

Why are we being so mean?

It's really not about being mean.  The EYE trip is a big project.  Lots of transportation issues and preparation and fundraising issues.  The trip works best if the people traveling together have formed a community (because sometimes there are bumps in the road).  There is no other trip, event or program we do quite like EYE.  So we need to know that folks are committed to the trip and the goals of the trip.

We're getting the word out early.  We'll be reminding you again and again.  For most people this is a once in a lifetime trip.  Jump over that other blog post and look at the pictures.

Then fill out your application and send it in.

(Download link - right click and save)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Youth Missioner on the road!

If you look at the job description you won't see "Must travel well" anywhere in it. The reality is that traveling is a big part of what I do these days. I will be "on the road" every Sunday in September starting this Sunday, every Sunday in October, at least two (but it could be three) Sundays in November and three Sundays in December. The goal of that travel is to help me stay connected with all the congregations and the folks working with young in the diocese. It's a great opportunity for folks to ask questions and make requests about the youth ministry in the diocese as well.

Of course I also travel up to the Diocesan Ministry Center once every week for my office hours there. It's a great chance for me to connect with the other member's of Bishop Bill's staff and tap into the expertise of that talented group of people. It's also another chance for people to talk with me, ask questions, make suggestions and even offer (constructive) criticism. I invite and really hope you'll take the opportunity to call or stop by while I'm there. I try to make sure that the next several weeks schedule is available on our calendar and in our newsletters.

Sometimes I also get the chance to travel a little more widely.  For the last decade (on and off) I've had the chance to travel around our Province, especially in the dioceses of New York and New Jersey.  Sadly I haven't had the chance to visit our brothers and sisters in the American Virgin Islands (and yes that IS part of our province).  Happily I have had the chance to join with folks in the Episcopal Church in Europe.  My travels also have taken me all over the United States.

So it's probably a good thing that I enjoy traveling.

My goal in all of this to share all the wonderful ideas and experiences that I've collected along the way.  I pick up some gifts here and share them every where I stop along the way.  I hope that I can travel out to visit with you sometime soon.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Help Wanted!

Bishop Franklin and the Youth Missioner Jay Phillippi are working on reforming the youth ministries of the diocese.  That's really good news because all those "little details" that sometimes get just a quick touch are getting the attention they need.  The goal is to create a diocesan youth ministry that is fun and faith filled while being efficient and organized at the same time.

So here's our help wanted ad:

Wanted - Youth Commission treasurer - a person with an understanding of basic bookkeeping/accounting concepts to keep an eye on the youth ministry budget and program costs. Willing to work as a volunteer with the youth ministries of the Diocese of WNY.

We need someone who is organized and reliable.  This person does NOT need to be actively involved in youth ministry.  You may be asked to help with reimbursement forms for events and programs.  The majority of this job can be done via mail/phone/e-mail.  Must be comfortable working with computer and internet.
Will prepare easy to understand reports on events that show income and expenses.  Will be familiar with diocesan budget lines concerning youth ministry and how those funds are spent.  Needs to provide a quarterly report to Youth Commission and diocesan Finance Office.  Will work with Youth Missioner who will provide basic data and consult with the Youth Missioner on matters concerning how money is spent and accounted.

The primary role for this position is assisting the Youth Missioner in keeping clear and complete financial records for the youth ministries of the diocese and creating periodic, clear reports to Youth Commission and the Finance Office.  This is a new position so you will be able to help create it.  We are asking for a one year commitment.

Does this sound like you?  Does it sound like someone you know?  Please have them contact the Youth Missioner at eyouthwny@gmail.com or by phone at (716)732-0733.

Our goal is to have this position filled before the September Youth Commission meeting.

Monday, July 29, 2013

So What's an EYE?

Let's start off with the basics.

It's E-Y-E.  Not "eye".

It stands for the Episcopal Youth Event, a triennial (meaning once every 3 years) gathering of high school aged young people from all across the Episcopal Church.  For 5 days these young people and some adults gather together to share food, prayer, laughter, love, knowledge and many, many stories.  For most youth it's a once in a lifetime experience.

It's a big deal.  Because The Episcopal Church spans most of the world.  Take a look at this and see how many places you'll find Episcopalians -

North AND South America, AND the Caribbean AND Europe AND Asia.

What happens is that groups of young people from Dioceses all around the world travel to one place (in 2014 it's Villanova University near Philadelphia PA) to experience all the many ways of being an Episcopalian.  For many of them (most of them?) it's a unique chance to be together with a thousand other Episcopalians.  To worship together, to hang out and learn.  For a great many of our young people over the last 10+ years their trip to EYE is one of the most memorable things they've ever done in church.

Recent trips included (click on the caption to see more pictures)
2011 - Minneapolis MN
2008 - San Antonio TX

EYE 2005

If this looks like fun then you need to fill out an application soon!  There are only a limited number of slots allocated to each Diocese.  You can expect the cost to attend EYE to be between $500 and $800(should be closer to the bottom than the top).  The final costWe do everything we can to keep the cost low and to help with fundraising.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Happening #32 Applications

All the applications for the next Happening weekend are now available!
Happening Weekend #31

Happening is a spiritual retreat weekend for high school aged youth.  The team that runs the weekend is made up of and led by young people.  It is a time to spend some time thinking about You, God and the World.  It's also a time of singing, laughter, games and lots and lots of fun.

Please think about attending if you haven't already, to apply for Team so that another group can have the great experience you had.

Adults (both lay and clergy) we are also looking for adults who would like to be part of the support community for Happening.  Contact the Youth Missioner with any questions.

Team - Adult
Team - Youth

Candidate - Adult
Candidate - Youth

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Weekly Newsletter

Highlights from the newsletters for week of July 8, 2013

Junior High Camp and Sleep Away Camp need more campers!

The headline pretty much says it all.  Numbers still very low for both camps.  Register today online or download the forms.  There's still time and scholarship funds are still available!

Something New Starts This Week!

Beginning on July 10 the Youth Missioner will have weekly regular office hours at the Diocesan Ministry Center!  Hours will be from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.  The schedule is still being worked on but here's the July schedule:

  • July 10
  • July 17
  • July 23
  • July 29
If you questions or subjects you'd like to discuss with him call and set up a time to meet!

Check Out This Great Video! 

This past week the Interfaith Lecture Series at Chautauqua Institution was on the subject of the future of the faith community among those under 30 years of age.  Leading off on Monday was the Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, the Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton.  Bishop Sutton offered up a great challenge and inspiration.  Long video but worth the time to watch.

 If you'd like all the news sign up for an e-mail newsletter Look for the options for either "Youth Leader" (for adults) or "EYouthWNY Youth" (for young people)