By Adam Harper, Senior at Ascension Cartersville
This blog post is a Day in the LIfe of a Youth Delegate. A week ago, I had the honor of attending the annual Diocesan Council as a youth delegate. For those of you who don't know, Diocesan Council is the annual gathering of clergy and lay people (that's us) for a weekend of church-policy making, discussion, and community in Christ. Each year has a theme, and this year's theme was "A People With A Purpose." Consequently, we, as a diocese, were ready to have a concious discussion on what our purpose is as people of faith in Atlanta.
Council is setup as a legislative session. There are legislative bodies -- house of clergy (priests) and the house of laypeople (us), and there are various committees. Each delegate has a vote (inlcuding those underage) and we vote on various issues and policies presented in the form of a resolution. For me -- a policital junkie at heart -- I enjoyed keeping up with the fast paced politics of the convention. (And please, refrain from taking the word "politics" in a negative way -- I mean it in the greek since -- politics, as in the neccessary workings of a "polity," or community.)
Therein lies what was so AWESOME about the Diocesan Council. It is a COMMUNITY of people who want to make our church a better place. As the bishop loves to say, Church is NOT an institution -- it's not a place. It's the human outworkings of Jesus -- you must BE the church. For 48 hours, we delegates, representing thousands of people in the Atlanta Area, talked about the strides we have been making to BE the church. It was amazing.
About half way through Council, the Council Body (that's everyone) broke up to go to committee meetings. (specialized meetings for different aspects of the Episcopal Church.) Most of the youth delegates broke up into their respective committees, but Hailey Wilson, Jesse Adkins, and I had the honor of representing the Diocesan Youth in the Diocesan Youth Committee. We fielded questions from various youth worker's throughout the diocese, and from people who were just curious about the youth innerworkings of our church. After all, we ARE the church of the today. (Creds to M. Teal for that quote.) For us as youth delegates, a common thread throughout the entire convention was the need to reinvigorate youth in our diocese -- to allow others to take advantage of the incredible opportunities our diocese has for Youth.
After a long day of "transacting business," we took a breath and had a wonderful taco bar. (I'm beginning to think Easton's favorite thing to have us eat is a taco from a taco bar.) THEN, began the next part of our nights.
The idea of a "lock in" came from back in the day when every year our diocese hosted "Episcopalooza!" which was just an overnight lockin held at a church in the diocese. Last year, Easton reinvigorated the lock in by putting it between days at council, allowing the Youth to show up Saturdaymorning at council to help lead morning prayer. We did just that! After a night filled with singing, laughing, and energy-filled middle schoolers, we had breakfast with the rest of council and lead worship in the morning and packaged 10,000 meals with Stop Hunger Now. (So I heard, I left Saturday morning to go to an All State Audition... which I promptly bombed.. :(. )
ALL IN ALL, the weekend was amazing. It was a great blend of community, of love for our church, love for each other, and love for the church's future in us youth.