Author Archives: Victoria Hoppes

2017 Youth Fall Conference


Diocesan youth events provide young people in the Diocese of Indianapolis with an opportunity for faith formation while building community with youth from Episcopal churches in central and southern Indiana. These events, planned by the Youth Steering Committee, help young people explore a larger expression of the church through worship, prayer, games, and a variety of other activities.

Two of the largest diocesan youth events are the Fall Conference and Spring Retreat.

Join us at the 2017 Youth Fall Conference!
Registration for the 2017 Diocesan Youth Fall Conference is now open! The Fall Conference will be November 17-19 at Waycross. This event is designed for youth in grades 6-12.

The Fall Conference is planned by the Youth Steering Committee and is open to all youth in the Diocese, as well as their adult chaperones.

You can download an informational flyer at this link.

What’s the theme?
The theme for this year’s Conference is Faith in a Global Family. Participants will hear from different leaders from interfaith communities about their theology, practices, and traditions. We will explore how other faith communities are in dialogue with our Episcopal tradition, and how we can engage in interfaith dialogue with others.

What can we expect?
Like any other diocesan youth event, the weekend will include lots of activities, including:

  • Small and large group gatherings
  • Games, games, games!
  • Worship
  • Workshops on a variety of topics
  • Recreational activities
  • Arts and Crafts projects
  • Service projects
  • Access to some Waycross Camp activities
  • Talent Show
  • Hanging out with old and new friends
  • And much more!

Where do we register?
Registration for this event will be open until November 8, 2017. Registration is available online at this link.

What’s the cost?
Youth: $80 (Scholarships are available! Contact us here for more information.)
Adults: $65

Registration cost includes lodging, meals, programming, supplies, and a t-shirt!

Have a question about Fall Conference? Contact Victoria Hoppes, Coordinator of Ministries With and For Youth, at (812) 597-4241 or for more information!

United Thank Offering 2018 Young Adult Grants

Do you have a new project or ministry you would like to implement in your parish or community? Encourage a young adult in your congregation to apply for one of the 2018 Young Adult Grants from the United Thank Offering (UTO)!

UTO has just announced that they will grant up to ten Young Adult Grants for 2018. UTO will fund up to $2,500 in start-up costs per grant for new ministries. The focus of this year’s grant process is The Jesus Movement: Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care.

In order to be considered by UTO, the grant must:

  • Be submitted by a young adult between the ages of 19 and 30.
  • Request funding for a brand new start-up ministry in the church. UTO will not grant funds to programs that are already established.
  • Be submitted first to the applicant’s diocese and endorsed by the Bishop. Each diocese may only submit one young adult grant application to UTO for consideration.
  • Fit the criteria and focus of the grant process. The criteria and focus of the 2018 Young Adult Grants may be found here.

Young adults in the Diocese of Indianapolis who are interested in applying for grant funding must submit their applications to the Diocesan Office by Tuesday, October 17th. Applications will be reviewed and one will be selected to move on for consideration by UTO.

If an application is selected to move on to UTO, it will be submitted to the diocesan office by UTO’s November 3rd deadline. Applicants selected to receive the grants will be notified of their awards in late January 2018.

Want to know more about what UTO has funded in the past? Click here for a list of the 2017 grant award recipients.

Questions about the grants or the grant process? Learn more by clicking here.

General Convention Official Youth Presence

Know a youth interested in the polity of the Episcopal Church? Encourage them to apply for the General Convention Official Youth Presence (GCOYP)!

What is the OYP?
The Official Youth Presence (OYP) at General Convention provides high school students with the opportunity to engage in the polity of the Episcopal Church by participating in General Convention. OYP participants have seat and voice in the House of Deputies. Up to two youth from each of the nine Provinces of the Episcopal Church are selected to be on the OYP.

Who is eligible to apply?
Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an active member and communicant of good standing in an Episcopal congregation.
  • Be between the ages of 16 and 19 years old during General Convention 2018.
  • Be a current high school student enrolled in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 during the 2017-2018 school year.
  • Be available to travel to Austin, Texas for a mandatory orientation weekend, April 5-8, 2018.
  • Be available to travel to Austin, Texas for General Convention from July 2-13, 2018.

What’s the cost?
The Episcopal Church covers all travel, lodging, and meal expenses for participants. Expenses are covered both for the orientation weekend and for the duration of General Convention.

How do you apply?
Applications are available online through the Episcopal Church. The application can be accessed by clicking here. Applicants must have a nominator who can fill out a nomination form once the application is submitted.

When is the application deadline?
OYP applications and nomination forms are due by November 1, 2017. Applications will be reviewed and applicants will be contacted in February regarding the status of their application. OYP participants will be announced in March.

Have a question about the GCOYP? Want more information? Check out the Episcopal Church press release here.

Youth Group Games

Games, Games, Games!

Games are a staple activity in most youth ministry programs! Here are some links to websites that give suggestions and banks for youth group games:

Tips for Choosing & Leading Games:
Choosing the right game for your group is very important! Here are some things to keep in mind while choosing and leading games with youth:

  • The size of the group: Is this a small group or large one? Do you have enough people to play the game? Do you need to create teams?
  • The level of energy you wish to exert: Do you want to wear participants out, or do you want to keep their energy level low?
  • Age: Are you playing this game with one age group, or multiple? Are all of your participants old enough to play the games? Are they developmentally appropriate for the age group?
  • Physical limitations: Are there any physical limitations you should be aware of? Can everyone run or jump? Do you need to make accommodations for youth with different abilities?
  • Location: Where are you playing the game? Is it indoors or outdoors? Knowing the location and environment is critical to choosing an appropriate game (for example, you don’t want to play a game that requires running around in a room that has a lot of furniture!)
  • Safety issues: What obstacles are in the way of the group? Do you need special equipment? Is there any form of physical contact? Assuring the safety of all is extremely important!

What are some of your favorite youth group games? Tell us in the comments section below!

Youth Ministry Recommended Reading- Fall 2017

Looking for a new youth ministry read? Here is a list of recommended reading for youth workers in a variety of categories. Each book contains a link on Amazon to view details about the read. This is not a complete list, just a few books that we think are helpful for you to have on your shelf this fall.

Looking for something else? Have a suggested book to add to the list? Comment below and let us know!


Theology and Youth Ministry:

Programs and Practices:

Worship, Prayer, and Spiritual Practices:

Nuts & Bolts/Administration:

Episcopal Church:

#EYE17 Reflection: Unity and Peace

Today, we share the next of several reflections that will prepare us for the upcoming Episcopal Youth Event, to be held July 10-14 at the University of Central Oklahoma. These reflections are connected to this year’s theme, “Path to Peace.”

This week’s reflection is by Victoria Hoppes, Diocesan Coordinator of Ministries With and For Youth.

READ: Ephesians 4:1-6 (NRSV)

PONDER: This passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. In it, Paul challenges us to use our individual gifts to work together to share the good news and to stay united together through the common bond of peace. This passage is a reminder that it takes a village to work for peace!

1.) Listen to the song “By Our Love” by for KING & COUNTRY. You can listen to the song here. What in this song sticks out to you? What challenges you? What draws you closer to God?

2.) Walking the path to peace can be difficult, especially if we are trying to do the walk alone. Peacemaking doesn’t just happen because of individuals. It also happens because of communities that work together to share the gospel. Individuals within the Body of Christ use their unique gifts to work together for peace. What communities are you a part of that work to promote peacemaking and reconciliation? What are some of the gifts that you bring to these communities as you work together for peace?

3.) One of the phrases that stands out to me in this passage from Ephesians is the phrase “bearing with one another in love.” Even in communities like the Church, communities that strive to promote peace and loving all, there is some conflict. It’s inevitable that we will face conflict because it is a part of our human experience. However, the ways in which we deal with conflict can teach ourselves (and others) about what it means to live in peace and unity. How do you handle conflict in the communities of which you are a part? How does reconciling these conflicts help you work toward a world full of peace?

PRAY: Holy God, you call us to work together for peace and unity. Help us walk the path to peace with others. Help us recognize how our unique gifts and talents share the good news of your love and peace. Help us to reconcile our own differences with others, so that we may promote your peace and unity in the church and the world. Amen.

#EYE17 Reflection: Peace Conquers All

Today, we share the next of several reflections that will prepare us for the upcoming Episcopal Youth Event, to be held July 10-14 at the University of Central Oklahoma. These reflections are connected to this year’s theme, “Path to Peace.”

As a part of the event, participants will explore Oklahoma City during a mid-week “Oklahoma Day.” As a part of this day, participants will visit the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. This reflection is designed to provide some background information on the story we will experience at the memorial, and ideas on how to prepare ourselves for this time.

READ: John 16:31-33 (CEB)

PONDER: Click the links below to read a little bit about the history of the Oklahoma City Bombing, as well as some information about the memorial.

Overview of the bombing, its history, and legacy
Reflections by Florence Rogers, survivor of the Oklahoma City Bombing
Learn about the people who died in the bombing
Learn more about the memorial museum

1.) The Oklahoma City Bombing was a traumatic experience for families, communities, and even a nation. The memorial and museum was created to house symbols, artifacts, and other places for reflection designed to help people process and remember this experience. Just like this museum, the symbols of our Episcopal tradition help bring us peace during times of distress. In traumatic and distressing times, how do the symbols, practices, Scriptures, and Sacraments of our faith bring us peace, hope, and love?

2.) In the reading from John, Jesus tells the disciples that there will be a time when they will face distress. However, he also tells them to be encouraged because he has conquered the world. How does Jesus bring you peace when you face distress in your life?

3.) Jesus also tells the disciples that they should be encouraged because he has come to bring them peace. What are some of the ways you receive encouragement? Does this bring you peace? Why or why not?

PRAY: Holy God, we live in a world full of distress, pain, and suffering. Grant that I may find peace and encouragement through the example of Jesus. Remind me that you are always with me and will bring me encouragement. Open my eyes to see the many things that help bring peace and comfort in dark times. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

#EYE17 Reflection: Peace in the Storm

Today, we share the first of several reflections that will prepare us for the upcoming Episcopal Youth Event, to be held July 10-14 at the University of Central Oklahoma. These reflections will be shared by diocesan youth leaders from across the Episcopal Church and are connected to this year’s event theme, “Path to Peace.”

We would like to thank Teri Valente from the Diocese of Delaware for sharing this week’s reflection!

READ: Mark 4:35-41

I have always been drawn to this story from the Bible.  The wind and sea don’t pause to explain their behavior.  They just stop because God is Lord of all.  Even when it feels like chaos abounds, God is in control.  And the idea that people literally next to Jesus could forget that He was with them makes me feel a little better about the times I forget Christ is with me.

So how can we find a path to peace in the midst of our storms?

1.) Jesus says to the sea, “Peace! Be Still!” Quite often, I’m to blame for my storms.  My pace and busyness distract me from the things that are really important and literally make the flurry.  My muscles get tense and tighten. I eat poorly and do not drink enough water.  Anxiety keeps me up.  I try to do more and more and find myself praying less and less.  So how do we hit the pause button?  There’s a labyrinth near my house that I like to make myself walk.  As I walk I often repeat, “Do not be afraid for I am with you always.”  It’s one for every finger… I tap them along my thigh as I walk.  OR I pray the first 5 words as I inhale and the next 5 as I exhale.  It’s hard to think about much else when I’m repeating it and walking the path. How do you identify when you need those moments of peace?  What spiritual disciplines do you practice to slow yourself down and be still?

2.)  Jesus asks, “Why are you afraid?” Usually, when I can name my fear or worry, I can figure out, or recruit help to figure out, what’s silly about it.  Kind of like using a riddikulus charm against a boggart in Harry Potter – if you can laugh at it, it goes away.  Seriously, fear and worry and lying punks.  How are your fears or worries greater than they should be?  Can you imagine how others might find them ridiculous?

3.)  Jesus then asks, “Have you still no faith?” Sometimes it’s good to recount all the ways that God has been good or faithful to me:  people that love me, ways I am provided for, prayers that have been answered… When I focus on the many ways God has been with me, it helps me feel more secure that God is still with me.  It also helps me take the focus off of myself.  Set a timer for at least 1 minute and either silently or aloud, remember the ways that God has been good or faithful to you.

PRAY: Lord, the storms of life can be scary and destructive. Grant that I may find stillness.  Give me perspective and courage. Nudge me with reminders of your faithfulness. Surround me with people that can help me to keep my eyes on you and to remember you are with me.  Amen.

Reflections on the Path to Peace

This summer, over 1,000 youth and adults from across the Episcopal Church will gather for the triennial Episcopal Youth Event (EYE). The event will take place July 10-14, 2017 at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, OK. The week will include worship, speakers, learning opportunities, social events, and a day exploring Oklahoma City. The Diocese of Indianapolis will be sending a delegation to participate in this event.

As we prepare for our trip, we invite you to reflect with us on this year’s theme, “Path to Peace.” The Scripture basis for this theme comes from Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

We will post some of our delegation’s reflections, as well as the reflections from other diocesan and group leaders in the Episcopal Church.

We also invite you to pray the following Collect with us, written specifically for this event:

Almighty Lord, peace maker of the world. We pray that you lead us down the path to peace as we yearn for peace in every form. We open our hearts to you as you reveal our calling through this mission. May there be love and acceptance in our hearts. May we also root ourselves in your vine and make our branches your path. As your roots strengthen all. In the name of the Holy Trinity. Amen.