Further Resources from the ECMN Weekly News

The weekly news is ECMN's broadcast email, filled with updates, resources and opportunities, meant for every Episcopalian, both inside and outside of ECMN.  If you aren't receiving these emails, click here to sign up today.

Because there's so much happening week to week, this page is updated weekly with resources that you may have missed last week!

Stories

ECMN Youth Respond to COVID
Doing ministry differently is something our ECMN youth have already been practicing, year after year, pandemic or not. So this spring is really no different as these kids think of new ways to band together and keep sharing God's unconditional agape love with one another. Read the rest of this incredible story here.Our Grade 12 leaders are the same ones who, about six years ago, advocated for themselves and their peers when they asked for programs that didn't yet exist. First they asked for another week of camp. Then they asked for middle school retreats. And then they asked for a combined statewide MN TEC program. So the fact that this group is actively saying "we aren't going to recreate TEC online" is par for the course.

Recreating a spring retreat virtually, in their minds, would have been far too much busy work and would actually have detracted from the real, immediate needs of their peers—for kindness, connection, and spiritual conversation. So two weeks ago a small group of 12 of these seniors, from 12 different faith communities in 6 of our 7 mission areas, got together on zoom. Together they dreamed up what they want and feel called to do for one another in this season.

Their first idea, which they've already done, is to reach out 1:1 to all high school youth who have been to TEC or camp. This means they each connected with 8-12 other youth. They asked how their peers were doing, asked for prayer requests, and invited them to a large group zoom on April 25.

This "ECMN Youth Zoom Gathering" is their second idea. To get ready for it, these seniors are currently making short, 2-3 minute videos where they share their own hearts, how they are noticing God in our midst right now, and what gives them hope. They will use these videos to host the zoom call, which will include breakouts into smaller groups for deeper conversation and prayer. Anyone who can't participate in the zoom call can watch these videos later and, if desired, can make their own to share with the group. 

I was already incredibly proud of this group of leaders, and I continue to be more amazed. We are experiencing change in our lives on nearly every level, and it is so tempting to try to hold on tightly to what we had been looking forward to. We will even bend ourselves (and others!) into pretzels to make it happen and feel "normal." But that's not the goal. Our goal, as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement, is always to share the unconditional love of Jesus as best and as widely we can.

These seniors know this. They've already been living it, and their leadership right now is a model for all of us. They are choosing to focus on loving one another well, in whatever the circumstances they find themselves and with whatever resources are available. And, honestly, they are delighted that, in the end, they may be able to do something that might allow even more ECMN youth to connect with one another than a normal spring retreat would. And then, whenever they do get to do an in-person retreat again, they want to see how they will be able to add in these relatively simple lessons learned during this time. They want to keep texting and reaching out to one another between programs, and they want to keep sharing and chatting about their faith stories online. 

 

Church Camps are Surging, but Changing


In the early 2000s, the beloved tradition of attending an Episcopal summer camp in Minnesota appeared to be ending after three sun-soaked decades. Upkeep costs had climbed, the diocesan facility was sold, and for more than a decade the church camp experience was reduced to a memory. But Episcopal amps have roared back in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Read more here and make plans to attend camp here.