Youth have a special ministry in the diocese, with opportunities for worship, conferences and retreats, camp, mission activities, and lots of fun. Diocesan youth have a Facebook page and invite you to join them there.
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.
By Victoria Hoppes, Diocesan Coordinator of Ministries With and For Youth
Mid-summer is a time when many parishes are planning for a new Church School, Sunday School, our youth ministry program year that begins in the fall. The Diocese of Indianapolis has many resources available to help you in your planning. Here are some suggestions of resources you can use in your planning and preparations:
- The Diocese has made available to all parishes a free membership to access LeaderResources curriculum. This includes access to the entire Journey to Adulthood (J2A) curriculum, Confirmation curriculum, God Talks, retreat resources, and more. Each parish is able to receive one free download of the entire LeaderResources youth ministry library. Information on how to download this resource is available here: indydio.org/free-leader-resources-youth-ministry-curriculum-for-parishes/
- The youth ministry section of the Diocesan website is being updated this summer with resource lists for parishes. You can access our growing resource page at indydio.org/our-ministries/special-ministries/youth-ministries/youth-resources/.
- We also have a new youth ministry blog! “Now We Gather” will include reflections, tips for leaders, resource highlights, and news about youth ministry in the Diocese. You can find the blog here: indydio.org/our-ministries/special-ministries/youth-ministries/now-we-gather-youth-ministry-blog/
There are more than just online resources available to congregations, too! Here are some other ways in which the diocesan family can support you as you plan a new program year:
- Networking: This is especially important for small churches who have limited resources, or are growing the number of youth in their parish! Connecting with other parishes in your deanery (or even churches of other denominations in your town) provides opportunities to build community across congregations, all while developing a critical mass of youth for an event. The diocesan office has on file a youth ministry contact for every parish in the Diocese. If you don’t know who to contact to make connections, we can help you! We are here to assist you facilitate conversations between parishes. We can also help you network with other denominations in your area through our ecumenical contacts.
- Consultations: Part of my position as Coordinator of Ministries With and For Youth is to work with congregations in the areas of youth ministry development and programming. I am available to visit your parish and help you with curriculum consultations, ministry planning, visioning, and other consultations. I am available to meet with individuals and groups. I can also provide you with resource suggestions via email.
- Diocesan Youth Ministry Events: Diocesan youth ministry events provide youth in grades 6-12 the opportunity to meet one another and engage in faith formation as a part of a larger diocesan community. Mark your calendars for one of our upcoming events: September 9th: Listening Session with Bishop Jennifer, 1:30 PM @ Waycross (join us after for a social time and campfire!); October 26th-28th: Diocesan Convention @ Jeffersonville and New Albany; and November 17th-19th: Youth Fall Conference @ Waycross. Registration information will be available on www.indydio.org in August.
Have a question? Need a resource? Not sure where to start with building or re-developing a youth program? There are so many other resources we can provide that are not listed here! Contact me… I am here to support and serve you. You can reach me by email at email@example.com or by calling me at 812.597.4241.
Blessings on your community as you prepare for a new year of ministry!