Monday, August 22, 2005

Just dashing by...

The title reflects how my life has felt for the last month. I never seem to "be" anyplace just in transit to the next. To be honest it's all a little wearing.

The last three camps of the year went very well. Music Art & Drama (MAD) camp was a lot of fun with three Episcopal young people there. We're already planning for next year including some changes. The name will be Art, Recreation, Theater and Song (ARTS) camp and we will build in time for the campers to do some traditional camp activities that were hit or miss this year (swimming, sailing, arts and crafts type stuff) I'm hoping that we can continue to see growth in this camp overall and within the diocese.

The Junior High/Sleep Away camp week was different this year. Because our numbers were down I got "cut" as a staff person. In some ways that made things easier but it also allowed me to run back and forth between the camps which became tiring and kept me from getting a real feel of having been to camp. Of course I seemed to be the only one not having a good time so it all works out. The campers and families I spoke to were all excited and looking forward to next year.

Add to that a visit from one of my longest term friends in the world and his family. I was a pinball bouncing between trying to find time for them and still make contact and connection with the young people.

There's still lots to do: final money issues for camp, end of camp reports, getting the fall programs on line, figuring out what my new job entails...

Oh yeah, I've added a part time job to my portfolio. The good news is that it's still youth ministry and that it helps with the old personal bottom line. Sometime in the next month I'll begin work at the Southwestern Conference Youth Ministry Coordinator (or something like that) for the Upstate Synod of ELCA. I've become a Lutherpalian! We'll see how good my juggling skills are. Is there a "bad news" side to this? I hope not but that feeling of being in transit I mentioned earlier maybe taking up permanent residence. We'll see.

For the moment I'm trying to get my stuff in reasonable order so that I can take off for a week of comp time/vacation. I'll be joining at least one of my brothers and his family in Lake Tahoe. I've never been there but I'm told it's gorgeous.

So I'll be gone again till the end of August when I have to hit the ground running for the new program year. Lots of things to share here as well. Just wanted to make sure you knew I hadn't dropped off the face of the earth.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Back from EYE

Well it was everything I hoped and then some.

Just under 1,400 youth, adults, bishops and guests gathered in Berea KY for an astounding time together. It was amazing worship with a Hip Hop mass (before you get your Anglican knickers in a knot this was a very Anglican form of worship that used rap as a vehicle for communicating the Word. While not a rap fan it still touched me, challenged me and made me feel closer to God. Would I choose it for my regular worship? I don't think anyone would be surprised to hear the answer's no. But then it's not really aimed at middle aged white guys who grew up in the suburbs of the '70's. Yet it's clear that there are many young people out there, especially in urban areas, for whom this would be worship that speaks to them in a language they understand. Given a history in our own denomination that emphasizes using the language of the common people in worship, how can we object to prayerful, worshipful, Spirit filled liturgy in the language of the streets?), there was also powerful traditional worship including a sermon from Bishop Michael Curry that was simply beyond description. He blew the roof off the place and brought us all to tears, to laughter, to inspiration and finally roaring to our feet. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I would cross the street and pay to hear the man preach.

The music was provided by a music team that for the first time was made up entirely of people 21 and under. Young people preached and led the events. They met with others from all over the world and made new friends, learned new songs, were challenged in what it meant to be a Christian and an Episcopalian. I know of one young man who came to EYE upset with the furor surrounding Bp Robinson and his perceptions of what the bishop was "doing to" ECUSA. Much to his shock he discovered the bishop in a group with him. They talked and suddenly the young man discovered that some of his assumptions challenged and he has begun a thoughtful process of reasessment.

For me personally the highlights were Bishop Curry's sermon, the presentation by Friends of the Groom, the chance to touch base with some special friends that I don't get to see very often plus a couple of new friends too. And of course the young people. Their energy, their faith, their belief in God and in their larger church. They inspired me and brought me to tears.

I'm very tired still but I don't want to let go of those memories. Of standing just at the edge of the arena and listening to over a thousand voices singing, praying, laughing, praising and worshipping.