"Our goal has always been to live out the familiar slogan - the Episcopal Church welcomes you - for adults who are single, regardless of their age or type of singleness," explained Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin, founder of Solo Flight Ministries With Single Adults and Solo Flight Conferences. "Now, we are excited about spreading our wings in several areas."
Improving on the original
"How do you improve on an original?" McLaughlin posed. "That"s the question that the staff of the Solo Flight National Conference for Single Adults has been considering as they approach a transition after two decades of ongoing ministry in the name of the Episcopal Church."
First, she cited, is location. "This year, we will be at Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond, Virginia - a city that in itself includes two Dioceses - Virginia and Southern Virginia. That truly is symbolic of how we see ourselves, spanning geography, age groups and types of singleness. It is also convenient to two major airports and interstates, so we feel that some people who have not previously had the opportunity to attend the conference will be able to consider it."
Next are fees. "In a difficult economic time, we are able to offer the full-service conference at a lower fee this year, which also should be encouraging to those who want to attend." Conference fee is $475 for the long holiday weekend event, and includes room, board and conference materials.
McLaughlin said another key component is the young adult. "Millenials, X-ers, Y-ers, as well as busters, boomers and more," the founder noted. "We have always been aware that our research on the issues and developmental tasks of single adult life is highly relevant to the lives post-formal education through mid-30"s men and women are living, and have always provided sessions to speak to those issues. We are moving very intentionally to developing this track of ministry to provide resources on such relevant young adult issues as relationship issues, including relationships in the digital age, dealing with break-ups of relationships which were super-important but did not end in marriage, so their ending is not recognized by society; lifestyle concerns, and many others."
To assist in developing the young adult and total ministry components of the conference, Solo Flight is welcoming Canon Sam McDonald, a well-known leader in Young Adult Ministry who now serves as Canon to the Ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington.
Formalizing leadership development and ongoing ministry for single adults will be a key focus. "We have worked to sustain the conferences as a network for fellowship and support for single adults and a statement that the Episcopal Church does welcome single adults," she noted "Now it is time to formalize these two activities for the future."
McLaughlin is in discussion with a major seminary about developing a video conferencing course in leadership for ministry with single adults, which would make the training more widely available. The goal is to have at least two trainers in each province, and eventually, two in each diocese. "If we do not train professionals to assist in starting and maintaining this ministry, utilizing our structure to reach our smaller churches, we are leaving ministry with single adults to the protestant mega-churchesÂ—and our people will go where they find their needs met," she pointed out.
While the effort has been slowed by the economic downturn, it is the intention of Solo Flight Conferences to work with Episcopal bishops to match the $50,000 grant and, in its third decade of ministry, to make the opportunity for single adults to have the benefit of this ministry available in five locations.
For more info contact McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org
To register, contact Davidwperk@aol.com and ask to join Solo Flight yahoo group.
Registration deadline is August 15.
The Episcopal Church, with 110 dioceses in 16 nations, is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Solo Flight: contact Davidwperk@aol.com for solo flight registration and yahoo group information
The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org