As a young adult in today’s church, I found myself in a position of not knowing where my calling in the Church was, as most my age do. Having just finished my freshman year of college at Oklahoma State University, I no longer fit into the youth spectrum of the church and found myself looking for what was next for me. When I saw the advertisement for the Young Adult Festival at General Convention, I knew I had to go. The Young Adult Festival is put on by the Young Adult and Campus Ministries as a way for young adults to meet their peers and have a space to pray and explore together, while also learning about the legislative processes of the church.
Once arriving at General Convention for the Young Adult festival, we were immediately immersed in the community with Opening Eucharist in which Presiding Bishop Michael Curry gave the sermon. During this sermon, he set the tone, by urging us to throw ourselves into the arms of God and truly live a life that embodies Christ. It was then that I realized that General Convention may be about legislation, but this process was unlike any other because it was truly led with the teachings of Christ in mind.
Over the next few days, we got the opportunity to learn about different organizations within the church and those that are affiliated with the church. We also learned about resolutions and how they are passed through the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. This was very helpful, as it allowed those of us that had not been to General Convention before to fully understand what was happening while we were sitting in on legislative sessions. Sitting in these legislative sessions was one of my favorite things about being a part of General Convention. It makes me so proud to be a part of a church that gives everyone in the church a voice. As a young adult who didn’t know much about General Convention, knowing that I could be a deputy in the future and be a part of this process made me feel so empowered.
Later in the week, we worshiped together again for Sunday morning service. This service was empowering and moving for me personally because a youth was lifted up and asked to give the sermon at this service. This youth was Andrés Gonzalez-Bonillas, who I had the honor of serving with on the EYE 2017 planning team.He reminded me through his sermon, that we have a platform to make real change and that we are a community rooted in pure affection and love. It was through this sermon that I found what I am being called to do in this new chapter of my life. I am called to be a disciple in every walk of life. I am called to stand for what is right, but in a way that is fueled by love and not by anger. I am called to embody the teachings of our church and to spread the message of the Jesus movement through not only my words, but my actions as well. Through this opportunity I found, not “the what” of my calling, but “the how”.I would not be on the path I am today without the Diocese of Oklahoma and my parish. I am forever grateful for those who have lifted me up and shown me that as a young adult I have a voice that needs to be heard. I urge you to lift up the youth and young adults in this church. We are not just the church of tomorrow, if you are willing to listen, you will see that we are the church now.
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