The first weekend in January, young adults from across the diocese gathered at Claggett Camp and Conference Center to restore and renew themselves for a new year.

Life is stressful. To the point that people always mention it, but what no one seems to mention is that there is a separate stress category that almost no one talks about.  The stress of being religious and church-y.  The stress of keeping up the good fight to always feel the need to be involved in some sort of church-led or church-involved activity. This stress is especially present in the young adult population. It seems difficult for them to find the appropriate balance. Some of them seem to start to think of it as church vs life as opposed to church and life.

I was privileged this past weekend ( 1/4 – 1/5/2020 ) to experience this stress first hand, luckily I also got to experience the other side of the coin. Myself (James Graham) and Allison Doyle got together and contacted Kate Riley. We set out with the goal of having a retreat at Claggett that catered to the 21 to 31 age group. The young adults of the church. The wayward sheep.

We succeeded in getting our retreat up and running and were only 1 bed short of capacity in North Cottage. In our 24 hour retreat (10 am Saturday to 10 am) we struggled with massive themes like how do we define church? How do we define being an adult? How do we reconcile the two concepts? Is my faith path the right one? Is there a right faith path? While we didn’t fully get any answers, we had approached them together and had a great time in community while we tackled them.

One of the last things we discussed was “Am I here to help the church, or is the church here to help me?” But that was at closing, and it was our challenge question. Maybe we’ll answer it next year, maybe. I won’t know, I’ll be too old for the retreat that I helped establish.


James Graham
St. Bartholomew’s Church
4711 Edmonson Ave