Sometimes it is just best to say "yes" to the Spirit. I have found, fighting Her can often prove unhealthy on so many levels. A few months back I received a phone call from Anthony Briggs of Cross Roads asking if I would be the co-chaperone for a youth delegation to the upcoming Episcopal Youth Event. After listening for a bit, I declined and listed tons of reasons why I was unable to attend. After hanging up the phone, the Spirit was relentless. I paused a moment and sought the advise of my more grounded husband, Randy Johnson. We talked about what my attendance would mean for our household, and he stressed the amazing opportunity it would be to attend a national Episcopal event. So, needless to say, I called Anthony back and said YES.
Since then, I have had the wonderful gift of meeting Rosie Grant of St. Paul's, Paterson, who will be the other chaperone for this event. She and I led two pre-travel meetings with the youth and their parents, one in May (with the leadership of Anthony Briggs) and one in June. The six youth, Rosie and I will travel to the University of Southern Oklahoma in Edmond on July 10 for the week. We will gather with almost one thousand other Episcopalians to discuss the theme "Path to Peace." The theme is taken from Matthew 5:1:12, the Beatitudes, and the attendees are being encouraged to share where they see peace in our world, and answer the question "How are you a peace maker?"
The six youth in the Diocese of Newark delegation come from the congregations of Church of the Saviour, Denville; St. Agnes & St. Paul's, East Orange; St. Peter’s, Essex Fells; St. Andrew’s, Harrington Park; St. Alban’s, Oakland/Franklin Lakes; and Holy Trinity, West Orange.
Please hold our delegation in prayer leading up to the travel, but most especially from July 10-14, 2017. We will carry you all with us when we travel, and we pray you will hold us in your hearts as we represent our diocese well. Won't you join us in prayer using this collect which is being used by all EYE17 participants:
"Almighty Lord, peace maker of the world. We pray that you lead us down the path to peace as we yearn for peace in every form. We open our hearts to you as you reveal our calling through this mission. May there be love and acceptance in our hearts. May we also root ourselves in your vine and make our branches your path. As your roots strengthen all. In the name of the Holy Trinity. Amen."
The Rev. Jerry Racioppi is Rector of Church of the Holy Spirit, Verona.