Author Archives: Victoria Hoppes

#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

PONDER:
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.

Welcome to Now We Gather!

Now we gather in this place
To feel your strong embrace
Defend us Lord from all assaults of the enemy
Give us the will to walk the Road
And strength enough to share the load
With the friends that you give as your earthly family…

This is the beginning of “Now We Gather,” one of the songs found in the Waycross songbook. I think that the title of this song is fitting as the title of this blog because it is a prayer that we will gather together to support each other in our Christian walk together.

Ministry, especially ministry to young people and their families, can have its challenges. “Now We Gather” is a blog for youth leaders in the Diocese of Indianapolis (and beyond!) that seeks to provide resources for leaders who work with youth. This blog will have a wide variety of content: devotions, reflections, resource highlights and diocesan youth ministry news, among other things. Our hope is that this page will become a place where youth leaders can come to discover and share best practices, reflect on their experiences, and become connected to youth ministry at the diocesan level.

You can also “Like” our new Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis Youth Ministries Facebook page for more resources and other news!

What are some things that you would like to see on this blog? Share your thoughts in the comments below! You can also email them to Victoria Hoppes, Diocesan Coordinator of Ministries With and For Youth, at victoria@waycrosscenter.org.