Last month, I wrote about Lent being a time of repentance and renewal. This month, I would like to continue to write about renewal, but in terms of the youth programs going on in the Diocese and here at the Cathedral. Several years ago, the Diocese removed from its budget funding for youth and young adults. Prior to that, renewal weekends for youth grades 10th through 12th grades were ended. Thankfully, in the last two years, dedicated diocesan staff and budget for youth has been realized. James Lawrence has worked to restart, or rebirth, our diocesan youth activities.
One of those diocesan-wide events was the Neptune's Daughters Mardi Gras Parade Party held for the youth at the Cathedral. We had over seventy-five youth and thirty-five adults from seven churches in attendance. The visiting churches were: Good Shepherd (Mobile), St. James (Fairhope), St. Luke's (Mobile), St. Paul's (Daphne), St. Paul's (Mobile), and St. Peter's (Bon Secours). Everyone who attended had a great time. Our visitors loved the experience. A special thanks to all of our Cathedral family who helped!
Another renewal for our diocesan youth is the rebirth of Happening, a renewal weekend put on by youth, with assistance from adults (lay and clergy), for other youth, 10th-12th grades. The first new Happening weekend recently took place at St. James, Fairhope. Another Happening is planned for February 3-5, 2017 at Holy Nativity in Panama City. Happening "seeks to bring young people to a fuller personal knowledge of and relationship with Jesus, and to a deeper level of commitment and apostleship." (http://www.diocgc.org/#!happening/h7ve2)Leland Moore III was our youth participant at Happening #52. It is my hope that we will have more youth attending next year's weekend as participants and staff.
The Cathedral will be the host location for a diocesan-wide youth acolyte training event on Saturday, August 20. More information will be forthcoming. This is another opportunity to help the youth of our diocese become better Christians as they learn to serve others, this time in the realm of worship.
Concerning our youth, we are trying new things! We had an overnight lock-in in late February. Later this month, we will have a fasting progressive dinner. "What is that,?" you might ask. Well, it is a progressive dinner (eating each course served at a different house) except the food is not eaten until we reach the last house. Throughout the night, we will pray and converse about what is going on. I am very thankful for Sarah Bolt assisting with the youth. She brings energy and ideas. I am also very thankful for all of the support we are receiving from the Cathedral family.
As we continue to try new things, to enjoy the renewal of our youth programs here at the Cathedral and throughout the Diocese, it is my hope that you all will continue to support our endeavors. We would love for you to pray for our youth (and youth leaders), talk with our youth to learn more about them and what they love to do at EYC, consider assisting at events, and continue to support us. It may be Lent, but we are enjoying this time of renewal of youth ministries here at the Cathedral and throughout the Central Gulf Coast.