A couple of Saturdays ago I dropped by the Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) retreat being held at St. Stephen’s in Edina. It’s always my hope to visit these gatherings in time to hear a young person give the traditional talk about God’s unconditional love. This time, I was in luck! As the young man told of some very challenging experiences that had taken place in his relatively young life, I was inspired by both his enduring faithfulness and the participants’ engagement. We are blessed in ECMN to have many opportunities for our young people to learn and share in their faith.
Last week, clergy from ECMN gathered for the annual Clergy Conference. Our theme was Conversations for Gracious Communities: Cross-Cultural Relationships in our Neighborhoods. It was a great opportunity for our clergy to add to and sharpen their tools in our shared calling of reconciliation. It was also a wonderful time for sharing stories, networking, and enjoying each other’s company. For me, it again reinforced my perspective that ECMN is blessed by an incredible cadre of clergy. Their commitment to the faith communities they serve and their expanding partnerships with their neighbors is truly inspiring.
This past Sunday afternoon, St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral was filled with a great number of people and an incredible spirit. All were there either to be Confirmed, Received or to support those who were making this statement of faith. Over 70 individuals surrounded by family, friends, clergy and mentors said YES, I want to live more fully into my faith. The commitment of these individuals and all those who have been companions with them on their journey is, as I suggested to them in my homily, crazy inspiring!
Every direction I turn in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota this spring, I see an abundance of new life. Young people, clergy, lay leaders and faithful folks discerning their gifts, being equipped and then following Jesus into their neighborhoods to engage in God’s mission. What a blessing to share the journey with such passionate Easter people, who day in and day out proclaim “Alleluia! Christ is risen!”