GCOYP's 09 Reflections
Official Youth Presence 2009 was special to me. Which is very hard to say because I’ve pointed to the experiences I had while at General Convention to some of the lowest times in my faith. My advice for those of you who will make up Official Youth Presence 2012 is simple. I challenge you all to live in the moment, to block out politics, culture, and other distractions and just experience. You will be overwhelmed. You will be close to tears at times. And I can promise you that at some point you will disagree with someone in the group. Try and remember at the end of the day that the hymns you sing every sunday, the scripture you read every three years (the A,B, and C never-ending cycle) and the lord you worship are all the same. At times I forgot that truth, and my advise is to make that not only be your truth, but your definition while at General Convention. I hope you will try to meet the many wonderful bishops, priests, and laity that are at GC. You will be in my prayers. Remember that your voice is powerful and many have fought for you to have that voice at General Convention. I will finish my comments with a phrase we use often in South Carolina. “One Body, One Mission, Changing Lives.” I challenge you to find what that means to you at General Convention.
(You can read the text of the speech Zach delivered to the House of Deputies by clicking here.)
-Zachary S. Brown
I applied to GCOYP because I wanted to and believed that I could help this church become better than it already is. I wanted to get an inside look into the other side of the church that is vastly different from going to your home parish on Sundays. Most importantly I wanted to represent the youth of the church, and make it known that the youth are vital to our church’s growth and success.
The most rewarding moment had to be delivering a speech to the House of Bishops about evangelism and the importance of youth. It was an incredible feeling to have the Bishops of the Episcopal Church genuinely listening and thinking about the concerns of the youth. Hopefully we were able to influence them to act on what we shared with them.
There were two things that I found to be the most frustrating at the convention. The first was experiencing the “politics” of the church and realizing that this wasn’t just a feel good reunion of brothers and sisters in Christ, but also a place of business where people felt passionately on issues,and feelings were sometimes hurt. The second was realizing that some of my views on a particular resolution were very different than those of the majority of the other youth representatives and apparently the rest of the deputies at the convention. When this resolution was passed I was very concerned about the church, the deputies in the minority of the vote, and how this would affect my parish back home. Through the worry I prayed and talked with some of the great adult leaders of the GCOYP. Through this process I remembered that God was in control and although like in life, when I do not understand why something is happening, it was still in Gods hands and is exactly being done how it should be. This is ultimately God’s church and not mine.
I felt God’s presence through the honor of being able to serve in a new way and even with all of our differences when it came to the politics of the church. At the end of the day we still all came together and were able to laugh, play, and worship with one another.
GCYOP’09 changed my life by showing me how easy it is to make a difference in the church. It helped me to realize that I and any other youth have the ability to initiate change, and have a voice in the church we love and value so much. It was an honor to serve God in this way, and the entire experience has motivated me to continue serving and making our church better and better.
– Michael Sahdev
You can read about the Official Youth Presence at General Convention 2009 and all of their speeches by clicking here.