New Regional Youth Ministry Coordinators

Meet our two new Regional Youth Coordinators, Krist Heuett and Meredith Seaton

Josh Trader Five-minute read.   Resources

We are happy to announce the hiring of two new Regional Youth Ministry Coordinators. After several applications, interviews and prayer, we have hired Krista Heuett and Meredith Seaton to fulfill the two open positions. Krista will be responsible for the southern half of our diocese and Meredith the northern half.

The purpose of the Regional Youth Ministry Coordinator is to provide opportunities for our youth community to connect on a local level. They will work with congregations to organize and plan events ranging from picnics to overnight lock-ins. Be on the lookout during the last part of 2018 for more information about meet ups and planning sessions from them. I have asked each of them to share a little about themselves so that you can get to know them.

Josh Trader is The Bishop’s Assistant for Youth Ministry Development for The Diocese of West Missouri and a member of St. James’ Episcopal Church, Springfield.

Krista Heuett

Krista Heuett
I’m a member of Christ Episcopal Church, Springfield and have been a part of The Episcopal Church my entire life. I am currently the Director of Youth Ministry at Christ Church and I’m blessed to share my gifts through the Regional Youth Coordinator position.

I have been married to Bradley for almost 17 years and we have two youth, Jacob and Hunter. I am the daughter of the Rev. Anne Cheffey, who serves at St. Mark’s, Kimberling City. I have an Associates of Applied Science with an emphasis in Dental Hygiene and was an active hygienist for over five years. I left the hygiene field to be able to focus more on our diocesan youth and to continue my college education. I will graduate from Missouri State University in Spring 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and a Minor in English. When I’m not spending time with my family, studying for school, or working with youth ministry, I enjoy volunteering for other ministries in the church, watching Hunter play football, or spending time with our dogs, Jax and Sydney, and cat, Autumn.

I am extremely passionate for our youth and feel everyone can learn a lot through our interactions and modeling of our youth’s love and compassion for all. I feel the youth are not only the future of the church, but they are the present church which welcomes all with open hearts. I’m grateful to be a part of so many amazing youth’s lives through our youth program. By working with the youth, not only have I been blessed to help them on their faith journey, but they have helped my faith to grow and have strengthened my spiritual relationship with God, too.

I am excited to see where this new ministry leads as I share the love of God to all while helping to grow our youth community. Please feel free to contact me for more information on how to become involved in the south network.

Contact Krista: wemoyouthsouth@diowestmo.org.

Meredith Seaton

Meredith Seaton
I am a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City. I have been a volunteer with the youth program at my church from 2003, as well as at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City from 2003-2014. My work included everything from Sunday youth group to the Ski trips and lock-ins. I also had the pleasure of working with the youth of St Anne’s, Lee’s Summit in 2014-15.

I joined The Youth Ministry Commission in the early stages of developing our diocesan youth program. It has bloomed to include many events for our youth, and also provides youth with opportunities to lead worship during the events as well as in their own churches.

I have had the amazing opportunity to accompany our youth to large church events such as the Episcopal Youth Event, The General Convention of The Episcopal Church, as well as on mission trips and pilgrimages. There really is nothing quite like riding together in a car for days to build community and relationships. Summer 2019 we will embark on another pilgrimage exploring our faith and nature.

I am excited about the work that our networks have done over the past few years. The work of the network is to create a place for youth from churches that may not have a youth program to be able to join others from the area in worship, fellowship, and fun. We have the unique opportunity to worship in our own churches and come together in community. I look forward to building this network with the help of the churches in the diocese.

We also need you! We are always in need of volunteers in the youth program. Volunteer as a driver for a youth event or to be a chaperone. We have a variety of ways to be involved both hands on, but also behind the scenes, and many jobs that don’t include sleeping on a church floor!

Please feel free to contact me for more information on how to become involved in the north network. I look forward to continuing on this journey together.

Contact Meredith: wemoyouthnorth@diowestmo.org.

Camp WEMO 2018

Here’s a rundown on what happened at this year’s Camp WEMO.

Katie Mansfield Five-minute read.   Resources

Camp WEMO 2018. Supplied image

Each year the weeks leading up to camp are so exciting. You get to hear all the chatter from youth about how much fun camp was last year, and how they can’t wait to do it all over again. They’re excited to get to do different activities, to listen to the different clergy who come to visit, and to just spend time in fellowship with their friends, both old and new; they will tell you themselves, there really is nothing like Camp WEMO.


Camp WEMO 2018. Supplied image

Every year there is always a general theme that we try and revolve camp around, this year it happened to be love. Each morning we greeted the day with a pep talk from the interns and a couple of Youth Ministry Council members, Jordan and Emily. Monday morning, we got to hear Taylor Mansfield talk about the following passage from 1 John:

47Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

Tuesday morning we got to listen to Katie Mansfield talk about:

1919Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 19:19

On Wednesday Hayley Cobb shared with us her thoughts on:

31See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.1 John 3:1

Thursday morning we heard from Jordan discuss:

48Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.1 Peter 4:8

Finally on Friday we got to hear Emily sum everything up for us. These pep talks offered everyone an insight on what we should be focusing on for the day and how we should show others love throughout the week.

The Youth Ministry Council planning team for camp reached out to many clergy to visit us twice a day for ‘Clergy Time’ to talk about what love means to them, and to also plan an activity time so that the youth and adults could spend some time with them having conversations and asking questions, while also do an activity such as making chocolate mouse or decorating an altar cloth.

Camp WEMO 2018. Supplied image

Josh Trader (Left) & Spencer Orr. Supplied image

This year, Camp WEMO was exceptional and the clergy who came to visit, and the staff who were there to help was one of the reasons why. Other reasons the week was such a success were the way the senior high youth cheered each other on during the float trip when someone fell off the side of the raft and had to swim back, then there were the campers applauding each other when they finally worked up the strength to stand up and use the restroom or get a refill of water. During the week at camp everyone accepted the call to love each other and live that out throughout the week, and with the help of messy games, and activity and worship times as a community, we all succeeded.

Katie Mansfield is an intern with the diocesan youth ministry.

WEMO Youth at General Convention

Twenty-two youth and adults traveled to Austin, Texas when the diocesan youth attended this year’s General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

Hayley Cobb Five-minute read.   Resources
After lunch on Tuesday, the youth had a tour of the Convention Media Hub, on their travels they met Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Image: Chris Sikkema

The Diocese of West Missouri Youth Program was able to take 22 youth and adults to the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas at the beginning of July. It was a week full of learning and growth for everyone involved. Through legislative sessions, meetings with passionate Episcopalians, and powerful worship services, our youth got to experience the loving sense of community in our church.

Our group stopped in Denison, Texas on the drive down and stayed at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for the night. We got to learn about all of the ministries St. Luke’s provides for their community as well as help serve dinner to people from the community. On our way into Austin, we went to the T. Don Hutto Residential Center to attend the prayer service Mthr. Megan Castellan and many others organized. Getting to gather together to witness in solidarity with the women at the center was a powerful, once in a lifetime experience for both our youth and adults.

The diocesan youth arrived today and joined us for Prayers for Justice at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center. Image: Gary Allman

Monday was our first full day at Convention. We started the day hearing from Walker Adams, former WEMO youth and intern, about General Convention as well as what he does at Sewanee. We also got to sit down with Gay Clark-Jennings, President of the House of Deputies, for a brief minute and ask her a few questions before heading over to sit in on our first legislative session. Each day, once we arrived at the convention center, the youth had the option of getting to go sit in The House of Deputies during their sessions or explore the Exhibit Hall and talk to many different exhibitors about their booths. When in open session, some of us would go to the House of Bishops and listen to their discussion as well! In between legislative sessions, joint sessions, and talking to exhibitors, the WEMO Youth got to meet with lots of people involved in various parts of the Episcopal church.

Monday afternoon we got to meet with Bill Campbell, Executive Director of Forma, and talk with him about Forma’s presence at General Convention and what all they do as an organization. That evening we had the chance to tour Seminary of the Southwest with Joe Pierjok, student at Southwest from Church of the Redeemer in Kansas City.

WEMO Youth in the convention TV studio with Jeremy Tackett and Chris Sikkema. Supplied Image

Some other highlights from the week include touring the media hub TV Studio built for General Convention inside the convention center, running into Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, hearing from Shannon Kelly, Officer for Young Adult & Campus Ministries, and some of us helping to serve communion at the convention’s closing Eucharist. We had lunch with our deputation and used the opportunity to ask them questions about their experience. We also attended a youth gathering one night to meet with other youth at General Convention.

In no particular order. WEMO Youth, deputies, alternates, volunteers, Donna Field, Bishop Marty, and WEMO Jesus at the 79th Convention of The Episcopal Church. Image: Gary Allman
Amanda (left) and Rosie demonstrate a diverse taste in hats. Image: Gary Allman

It was a week full of new experiences for some of the WEMO Youth and while we were busy we learned a lot. We learned how to love everyone regardless of our differences through the adoption of the Diocese of Cuba back into The Episcopal Church. The business of the church might not always be glamorous, but it is important nonetheless. Having been immersed in General Convention for a week, the youth of this diocese experienced the Episcopal Church in new, fascinating ways and enjoyed it all.

Hayley Cobb is an intern with the diocesan youth ministry.

MissionPalooza

WEMO Youth’s MissionPalooza this year helped out at Wayside Waifs, Nourish KC, Operation Breakthrough, Habitat for Humanity Restore, Synergy, and Unleashed Pet Rescue.

Taylor Mansfield Five-minute read.   Resources

MissionPalooza. Supplied image

As always, MissionPalooza was a great success. We attended six work sites, Wayside Waifs, Nourish KC, Operation Breakthrough, Habitat for Humanity Restore, Synergy, and Unleashed Pet Rescue.

We had a group of about 30 youth and adults who were split between the six worksites to volunteer at for 3 days. When everyone registered for this event they were able to choose which worksite they would most prefer to volunteer at and almost everyone got one of their top two choices.

The group that attended Wayside Waifs was also the same group that volunteered at Unleashed Pet Rescue. The group that went to these two worksites baked homemade dog treats, walked the animals at the shelter, and did some laundry and housekeeping chores around the shelter. Despite how tedious some of these tasks may be, the youth could not have been happier to complete them. Every day, I was greeted with a big, happy smile from all of these youth who had spent their afternoon cleaning up after animals.

MissionPalooza. Supplied image

The Habitat for Humanity Restore work site required a lot of hard and physical work from everybody in the group. This group spent the majority of their day outside in the sweltering heat and when they weren’t outside, they were inside digging through piles of locks. Habitat for Humanity Restore is probably one of the toughest work sites, because at times it can seem like you are only completing busy work and not making an impact on the community. The youth and adults did a great job at toughing out the hard times and realizing that no matter how little the job, it still can make a huge impact on someone and their life.

MissionPalooza. Supplied image

Synergy is a shelter for women and men who have led tough lives struggling with domestic abuse, addiction, and many other things. At this worksite, the youth and adults helped to clean up some old apartments that the men and women staying at Synergy would eventually live in as a way to get back onto their feet. The youth from this work site came back telling me about cockroaches crawling out of mirrors, cleaning out expired food in the fridge and getting bleach on their shirts all with big smiles on their faces.

Operation Breakthrough is a day care type facility for low income families. These families can send their children to Operation Breakthrough throughout the summer, on holiday breaks, and any other days that school is closed so that the parents can still work and don’t have to worry about finding childcare. The group that attended this work site were split up into different classrooms, and got to play with the children throughout the day, and also had to complete some cleaning chores.

MissionPalooza. Supplied image

At the close we heard from three people about their time at MissionPalooza. We heard about their desire to go out and love the world as God taught us to, we heard about the times throughout the week when God’s love was so obviously present, and we heard about the love that these youth have for each other, God, and everyone around them. MissionPalooza left everyone feeling empowered, loved and motivated. I can’t think of another group of people who would be able to go out and complete several days’ worth of volunteer work in just one day. It was a huge success, and everyone is ready to go out and be the Lord’s hands and feet in the world.

Taylor Mansfield is an intern with the diocesan youth ministry.

Youth Ministry

A look back at my first year as diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator plus an introduction to this summer’s interns.

Josh Trader Five-minute read.   Resources

The end of June marks my one-year anniversary as the Youth Ministry Coordinator for the diocese. As I look back and reflect on my first year, several things stand out.

Youth Network Coordinator Josh Trader addresses the Diocesan Convention Image credit: Gary Zumwalt
I have given my first State of Youth Ministry address on the convention floor, worked with our incredible team of adult leaders to put on several amazing youth events, journeyed to Charleston for the FORMA conference, bid farewell to the North Central Metro Network Coordinator for youth, Mother Megan, as she started her journey as rector of St. John’s in Ithaca, New York, and began working with our Interim Network Coordinator, Alexandra Connors. I also want to thank all the adult leadership, the Youth Ministry Commission, the youth of our diocese and their parents for all of their support as we have journeyed through this change. As fantastic as the first year was, I am looking forward to the many years and new adventures to come.  

A few months ago, myself, Kim Snodgrass (The Bishop’s Assistant for Christian Formation) and Bishop Marty began looking at what my official job title meant and how it could be perceived. After a lot of discussion we came to the conclusion that a change was in order. The result is that my title is now The Bishop’s Assistant for Youth Ministry Development. What does that mean? Our hope is that it gives a better indication of my role in developing youth ministry. I am here to help and work with all churches in our diocese as they develop their youth ministry programs. When a church is beginning the conversation of how to start, build on, or thinking about youth ministry I am here to be a resource for them.

I am working with Kim to finish our Ministry Handbook, a dream that started two years ago, at a diocesan youth leaders’ retreat. The dream was to have a resource that helps churches and individuals through the many processes involved in establishing ministries. Some of these processes are; how to begin developing a philosophy of ministry, strategic planning, youth ministry, integrational ministry, risk management, and the various tools and resources available. We hope to have the final copy available by the end of 2018. 
 
In May we began looking for two part-time Regional Youth Ministry Coordinators to coordinate network events and to help build relationships on a regional level. With the new positions every church in our diocese will have a Regional Youth Minister to bring the youth across our diocese together when we are not at a diocesan event. We plan to make the announcement of the new coordinators in July.  

I am also pleased to announce that we have hired Katie Mansfield, Hayley Cobb and Taylor Mansfield for our summer intern program. They will work in the WEMO Youth Community for nine weeks, learning from all the people in youth leadership and beyond. They will learn how to plan and facilitate events, formation planning, assist in strategic marketing and grow in their relationship with Christ.  

Find out more about our new interns below.

Josh Trader is The Bishop’s Assistant for Youth Ministry Development for The Diocese of West Missouri and a member of St. James’ Episcopal Church, Springfield.

Hayley Cobb

Hayley Cobb
Hello! My name is Hayley Cobb and I’m from Ozark, Missouri. I am currently in my first year of college at Drury University and attend Christ Episcopal Church in Springfield, Missouri. At Drury, I am majoring in Strategic Communication. I am the Vice President of Episcopal Campus Ministry in Springfield which I have been regularly attending through my freshman year of college. Growing up I was very involved with the diocesan youth program therefore it holds a special place in my heart. During my time as a youth, I was a member of the Youth Ministry Commission and a youth delegate for the Southern Deanery. I have been eager to have the opportunity to be an intern and give back to the program that gave me so much. During this summer internship program, I am excited to get to spend more time working alongside the other adults and youth. I love getting to see the youth grow in their faith and foster relationships with one another. I am also looking forward to getting to spend time working on my own faith with the other interns, and developing lots of important skills.

Katie Mansfield

Katie Mansfield
Hello, my name is Katie Mansfield. I am currently 19 years old and I am studying at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. I am studying Accounting and thinking of adding a minor in Human Resources. I am originally from Carthage, Missouri where I attended Grace Episcopal Church for the past eight or so years. Even though I may never attend Grace Church on a regular basis ever again, I will always consider it to be my home church. Moving to Kansas City has been such an exciting new adventure and is unlike anything I’ve done before. I have been presented with incredible opportunities. In August of 2017 for example, I was asked to be the youth intern at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, and earlier this month I was accepted into a position to be an intern for WEMO Youth. I am so excited to be able to continue working with the youth I’ve grown so close to this past year, and also continue my relationships with the youth and adults whom I’ve known since my early years as a youth. I am most looking forward to getting to really make an impact on people’s lives through my work as an intern this summer. Ever since I’ve been a youth, the summer interns have been people I’ve looked up to and aspired to be like. Because of them, I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity for so long and now that it’s here, I can only hope to have the same impact. 

Taylor Mansfield

Taylor Mansfield
Hi everyone! My name is Taylor Mansfield and I am so excited to have been chosen to be an intern this summer! I am 19 years old and am from Carthage, Missouri and attended Grace Episcopal Church. I am currently a sophomore at Missouri State University and plan to major in elementary education with a minor in Spanish. Since being in Springfield, I have been going to St. James Episcopal Church on Sunday mornings and on Tuesday nights I go to Episcopal Campus Ministry at Christ Church. I absolutely love working with kids of all different ages, so I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to help the youth along on their faith journey and to be here as someone who can help with whatever they may need. I am hoping that coming out of this internship I will have deepened my relationship with God and have found a greater meaning of what my faith means to me. I believe that being surrounded by, and having the opportunity to work with, like-minded people will be something that will really help guide me in figuring out who I am as a Christian individual. I can’t wait to see what is in store for this summer!  

Diocesan Youth Gathering and the 2017 Bishop’s Ball

Josh Trader Five-minute read.   Resources


Bishop’s Ball 2017 Image credit: Gary Allman

What does the birth of Jesus mean to you? What was it like to be a disciple? How can we relate Jesus’ miracles to life today? What was it like to be there when Jesus was nailed to the cross? This year youth and volunteers sought to answer some of these questions at the Diocesan Youth Gathering.

Friday evening youth and adults from around the diocese gathered at Saint Paul’s, Lee’s Summit, for the Diocesan Youth Gathering. Our weekend began with a balloon scavenger hunt throughout the church involving word puzzles and ending our first evening with Compline lead by the members of the Youth Ministry Commission (YMC). On Saturday morning, we led Morning Prayer at the diocesan convention. Once we arrived back at Saint Paul’s, we began our journey through a series of stations in four rooms.

The first station (room) focused on discussing the life of Jesus from his birth to the Wedding at Cana. While at the first stop, youth discussed what it’s like to be faced with inconveniences, how we respond to them, and where we see Jesus turning the ordinary into extraordinary things.

In the second room, the youth immersed themselves into the story of Jesus calling his disciples and discussing how we can best be a disciple for Christ with ultimately striving to be an apostle.

The third room required the youth to participate at their own pace through a series of stations. Each station invited them to read a passage about one of the many miracles of Jesus followed by an interactive activity. One of the stations that spoke deeply to the participants focused on Jesus stilling the storm and how Jesus stays with us through our fears. At this station, youth were asked to write their fears on dissolving paper and then place them into the water. This allowed the youth to watch their fears disappear while reminding us that Jesus is always still present.

Our last room focused on the Passion of Christ through imaginative prayer. Using this form of prayer, we were able to attempt to feel what it was like to be there during the crucifixion.

Morning Prayer & Diocesan Report

Bishop’s Ball

On Saturday night we were joined by clergy, other youth leaders, parents, former youth, and Bishop Marty and Mrs. Donna Field for the Bishop’s Ball. YMC members Brett Wilson and Marie Evans did an outstanding job as our emcees for the evening as we started with serving dinner. One of the highlights of the ball is the annual awards ceremony. Our honorees this year were; Christine Escobar and Brett Wilson for Outstanding YMC Member, Lily Julian and Isabelle Morrison for Outstanding Youth, Spencer J.T. Orr for Outstanding Volunteer, and Mother Megan Castellan was the recipient of the Purple Cross. Bishop Marty surprised everyone with an award of his own, by presenting the very deserving Duchess Wall with the Bishop’s Shield for her countless years of dedication to the young people of our diocese.

Josh Trader is Youth Network Coordinator for The Diocese of West Missouri and a member of St. James’ Episcopal Church, Springfield.

Resources

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The Presiding Bishop Visits the Youth of the Diocese

Gary Allman Two-minute read.   Resources


Presiding Bishop Michael Curry with Bishop Marty and the youth of the dioceses of West Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa at St Paul’s Episcopal Church Kansas City. Image credit: Gary Allman

Before attending the ‘Awakening the Spirit’ events, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry spent time at St Paul’s Episcopal Church Kansas City with the youth of the diocese. They were joined by youth from the Dioceses of Kansas and Iowa.

The Presiding Bishop took part in two question and answer sessions Friday evening, and returned Saturday morning to see the youth assisting at the St. Paul’s food pantry.

Gary Allman is Director of Communications with The Diocese of West Missouri.

Resources

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Camp WEMO 2017

Camp WEMO 2017 – Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.

Will Mansfield Five-minute read.   Resources


Opening Eucharist with Mother Megan officiating. Supplied image

Camp WEMO 2017 is in the books, with the only thing remaining from us at Camp Wakonda is a few drops of sweat from the interns trying to fit all the tents back in their respective bags.

What a wonderful week it was, with the weather cooperating throughout the week (except for in the early morning after the senior campout), allowing us to go on the annual canoeing trip on James River along with swimming in the pool and lake and playing slip and slide kickball, which, personally, was my favorite game of the week. The week was filled with learning, laughter, prayer, and discovery, among many other things. Friendships were made and strengthened not only within the youth, but also among the adult volunteers, many of whom sacrificed vacation days from work to take part in this wonderful event. Without the help of the adults, Camp WEMO would not be the fantastic event that it is, and the youth in this diocese are incredibly fortunate to have adults willing to take the time out of their lives to be there for them.

God has called every one of us to use our abilities to pray, care, and share with all creation His love and word

Each day of the week had a specific topic that conversation revolved around, or started on. Monday’s topic was how God wants to use us in this world. We emphasized that God wants and can use all of us in some way to spread His love, and we challenged everyone to think about ways we can best be examples of God’s love and compassion. Tuesday’s topic was what it means to pray according to God’s will. Conservations revolved around what it means to pray the way God intended, which starts with an unselfish and caring motive. Wednesday’s was how to care for oneself and others according to God’s will. We discussed in our family groups ways to care for others the way God intends and why it is important to first care for oneself, along with some good ways that God has shown us how to do that. Thursday’s topic was sharing and the impact that a person’s story can have on others. This was highlighted by a few of our adults sharing their life experiences and how the church has been a loving and supportive community in their life.

Last but not least, Friday tied together everything we learned and discovered from the week by using the verse:

1615 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. Mark 16:15

Amanda Miley delivering the ‘Morning Pep talk’
on Friday (Mark 16:15).

God has called every one of us to use our abilities to pray, care, and share with all creation His love and word. I hope that everyone who was at Camp WEMO 2017 knows that they have the ability to change the world simply by doing those things.

Will Mansfield attends Missouri State University in Springfield, and was one of the 2017 WEMO Youth Summer Interns.