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.

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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.