We are the Church of tomorrow and the Church of today; we are the youth of the Episcopal Church in Central Pennsylvania. We are a group of teenagers with many different backgrounds and many different gifts and talents.
A few times a year we gather together in worship and fellowship, fun and laughter, music and praise. In one weekend a bond is created, a bond that will last a lifetime. We make lifelong friends and we create a lasting relationship with each other and God.
As a community of faith we are always looking for new people to join us and share in our fellowship. We look for those who wish to grow in their faith, define their faith, question their faith and those who may have no faith at all. Our hearts are open to explore endless possibilities, amazing mysteries, and the spectacular works of God in our everyday lives. Our main task is to take the love we receive at events and spread it throughout the world. In all of our works we strive to show the love of God and make the world a better place by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We invite you to look around and find what interests you. We invite you to come participate in our events. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We would be happy to have you join us and share in our communion and become a part of our family.
Youth Ministry Staff
Mary Ellen & Bob Kilp
What is Happening?
Happening is a Christian experience presented by teenagers, for teenagers with the help of clergy and lay adult leadership. The Happening program is meant to be one of the instruments within the Anglican Tradition of renewing the Christian church in the power of the Holy Spirit, so that the church may more readily respond to its call to spread the Kingdom of God throughout the world. It seeks to achieve this purpose by bringing young persons and adults to fuller personal knowledge of and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and to a deeper level of commitment and apostleship.
What can I expect at a Happening weekend?
During the Happening weekend, which usually begins Friday evening and continues through Sunday afternoon, there are many activities designed for fun and for Christian community building among participants.
Throughout the weekend, a series of talks are delivered by youth and clergy to logically present the elements that define the catechism process and a mature profession of faith. The presentation of key talks by youth using personal life experiences is intended to offer Christ’s message to attending Happeners on a level they can understand and to answer many of the faith questions youth struggle with daily. Talks about church teachings and their importance in the lives of youth attending the weekend are presented by clergy in a fair and friendly manner. Each talk is a critical building block in the creation of the Happening message. The entire series of talks is given in a sequence that is intended to guide Happeners by opening an avenue of discussions to help them verbalize and internalize their faith questions in a safe environment, hopefully leading to a new or renewed relationship with Christ.
Caritas, signs of God’s love through letters, messages, and small tokens, is distributed at times throughout the weekend to deepen fellowship and to demonstrate the knowledge and support that comes to each weekend from the “wider church.” For many, caritas provides the awe-inspiring revelation that each one of us is incredibly loved, not just by the God who made us, but also by a wonderful community of fellow believers around us.
Happening is a renewal weekend intended for high schoolers. Adults attend as chaperones, but teenagers lead the weekend for teenagers. Really, teenagers lead the entire weekend. Every year young people come together at Camp Mount Luther to talk about God and share the unconditional love that this community is all about. Happening is open to all high school youth.
First time youth attending Happening come to the weekend as candidates. The weekend is for the candidates!
Happening Team is the group of high school youth that lead the entire weekend. Adults are a part of team to chaperone, but they step back and let the teens make it all “happen”.
Celebration Team is a special part of the Happening Team that comes together to pray for the candidates on site at Camp Mount Luther.
About New Beginnings
What is New Beginnings?
New Beginnings is a spiritual retreat weekend designed to serve the needs middle schoolers grades 6-8th. New Beginnings offers a chance for youth to reflect on the important relationships in their lives and consider what “New Beginnings” they can take on in their own lives. Even though New Beginnings is hosted in the Episcopal Church tradition, this experience is for all Christian youth. Episcopal youth are encouraged to invite their Christian friends to the weekend. New Beginnings is a great outing for an entire junior high youth group. Often, New Beginnings is the first opportunity for a young person to pause and reflect on his or her situation and God.
What to expect during the weekend?
New Beginnings is led by high schoolers. They are there to serve them middle schoolers. They lead the family group (each youth is divided into a family group at the beginning of the weekend), they perform skits, they lead the music, and they give the talks.
Talks are a part of New Beginnings that is very special. The youth write these talks, like a sermon, before the weekend with the assistance of the Spiritual Directors, the priest that attends the weekend. Talks range from peer pressure, to friendships, to siblings, to parents, to passing on the New Beginnings message back home.
On Saturday night, the high schoolers lead a Variety Show. There are various skits done by the high schoolers throughout the show, but each family group practices and performs a skit. Youth can also sign up to do a solo act . It’s a great chance to build confidence and just have fun. To close Saturday night, we have a candle lit Compline. For those unfamiliar, Compline is a service of evening prayers the Episcopal Church has done for centuries. It’s a very powerful moment in the weekend. On Sunday, we have many activities, but we close with Eucharist, and all friends and families are invited to attend. The sermon is preached by a high schooler, and youth lead every aspect of the service.
What about adult chaperones?
Although the New Beginnings weekend is led predominantly by the youth leadership team, adult leaders are engaged throughout the entire weekend.