For the past 14 years youth, their families, clergy, volunteers, and others have gathered to celebrate the previous year at the Bishop’s Ball. Unfortunately, this year we postponed the event that was to happen in February due to winter weather in the Kansas City area. Then COVID-19 happened and we were unable to reschedule the Bishop’s Ball this year. There was still some celebrating to do though.
At the Bishop’s Ball we award those in our community that have done something to stand out over the past year. Recipients are nominated by the greater community then The Youth Ministry Commission works through the nominees to decide who receives the awards. Since we were unable to gather together in community but had already chosen the recipients of the awards, I sat out on a Bishop’s Ball road trip to deliver the awards.
My first stop was to give The Legacy Award. The Legacy Award is given to a youth that is graduating and has left a lasting impression on the youth program of our diocese. This year’s recipient of The Legacy Award was Rosie from Christ Church in Springfield. Rosie showed up to events with a giant smile that was contagious, made all youth feel welcome, served on The Youth Ministry Commission for 4 years, served as rector of Happening, and was very active in her home parish.
My next stop was a familiar place, my own home. Tatum was awarded the Outstanding Youth Ministry Commission Member Award. She has been a faithful servant of the Youth Ministry Commission (YMC) and the WEMO Youth Community, she is known for placing youth events as her top priority. Tatum has served on YMC for 4 years. During her time on YMC she has been the chair on multiple event design teams and is often the first to volunteer where it’s needed.
The rest of the recipients lived in or near the Kansas City Area, so off to the northern portion of our diocese I headed. My first stop in Kansas City was to the place of employment of the Outstanding Youth Award, only to just miss him. Lucky for me, he wasn’t far away. I was pleased to meet up with AJ to give him this award. During his time with the WEMO Youth Community AJ was always a friendly face to everyone that met him. He often went above and beyond at events to be a helping hand anywhere it was needed. AJ attended just about every event available to him during his time in the program at the diocesan level, regional level, and parish level.
As I ventured north, I stopped by the home of Laura. Laura serves as the youth leader for the Good Redeemers, a collaboration between Church of the Good Shepherd and Church of the Redeemer. Laura was awarded the Outstanding Youth Leader Award for her service to both of these churches.
The final stop on my Bishop’s Ball Award road trip was to one of the most northern places in our diocese, Christ Church in St. Joseph. This year’s recipient of the Purple Cross Award, an award only given to clergy, is Father George. Over the past few years we have had the pleasure of George visiting us at camp for clergy time, in 2019 he volunteered the whole week as a cabin counselor and ventured with us to Glacier National Park on the triannual pilgrimage. During that time youth got to know him not only as a priest but as a friend.
Please join me in congratulating the 2019-2020 Bishop’s Ball Award winners.