When the pandemic began months ago, no one would have been able to predict where we are now. No one expected to see plans canceled, an entire summer at Claggett lost, and so many other things sacrificed. And yet, here we are preparing for the school year to be online or hybrid and continuing to work from home. But, God has not left us and we still have work to do.
This announcement has been one that no one has wanted to make. Last spring, we were hoping that life might be back to some semblance of normal by the fall. However, there is no safe way to offer the events we normally would while also being safe. Your safety is what is most important to us. With this in mind, we must announce that we will not gather for in person diocesan youth retreats at least through May 2021. This was a heart-breaking decision made by leadership across all movements. We believe this is the right decision. A decision supported by science, professional health workers, and data. Adult and youth leadership will continue to meet to evaluate the next steps, as well as the timeline for in-person gatherings.
We know there will be grief, and rightfully so. I ask you to sit in the grief. 2020 has seen many sacrifices, and these beloved events are now among them. The Holy Spirit works her way through these events to uplift everyone who participates, and they carry that love into the world. It will be a hard year without a traditional Happening or New Beginnings to look forward to.
But after we grieve, we must also ask where God might be calling us in this new season. We are still the Church. In a time that has been challenging, we have done some amazing things. We will aim to continue to do God’s work in a new and creative way.
This fall will be different and so we must approach it differently. Contact your youth leaders, your clergy person, and one another to discover something new. What can be offered that has never been thought of before? What can be improved on from home? Who can be invited that has not participated before? Take this time to discern what might be next.
Remember to take care of yourself and one another, wear a mask, be encouraged, and may God bless and keep you. If you have questions, please reach out to Kate Riley or Canon Scott Slater at [email protected] or [email protected].
Missioner for Youth and Young Adults