Thursday, August 18, 2005
The ideas that I had swimming around in my head all seemed to resonate with many members of the group. As part of my learning goals, I have contracted to convene two small groups for discussion, one on humorously themed novels that I will call "Reverent Satire", and one that tackles Christianity in 3 very different ways through movies that I will call "Faith in Film". Those should be fun. I also put forward to Jeannette, and she brought it up tonight, the idea of doing an All Hallow's Eve Midnight Mass/Costume Party/Lock-In for the youth (getting the idea from All Saints, Bellevue, WA - my plunge site). We're talking going all out - high altar service lit only by candles, huge scary organ music, Book of Occasional Services Liturgy, and the works! They loved that idea, and actually seemed somewhat disappointed when it was brought up that this would be themed and aimed at the youth! But, maybe we'll get the chaperones we need this way!
They seem to be struggling with what to do with the youth in general though. Should we have a youth group or not? If so, how do we involve the choir youth? (St. Luke's has a huge and extensive shoir program that'll knock your socks off, so come check it out in the Fall!) Should youth have "Sunday School", and if so, what format should it take. Who will lead it and them?
I remember clearly when my home parish was in this stage. Indeed, I was in the inaugural class, if you will. My youth group was extraordinarily successful, if you ask me, and those people bonded together in a way that can't really be put into words. Suffice it to say the connection is still very strong among most of us and we all stay in very good touch. So, I have lots of ideas for them, but I don't want to be typecast as "the youth guy", nor do I want to seem like I'm presenting a way for them to recreate for themselves what St. Hilary's had in the Cool Beans and the Hilary Sprouts programs. But, at the same time, I think these ideas could work for St. Luke's, at least some of them. And hey, why not ask the youth?!?!
Without doubt, the main impression youth group made on me (in middle school and high school) was that I could take for granted my right to participate: I belonged because I belonged, like everybody else. This was in striking contrast to my Monday-Friday public school experience, and would lay in my mind a cement foundation for the idea of church as radically open. I think the worship services themselves didn't bring this home to me because the laity didn't participate much week to week, especially not the youth (as opposed to the St. Luke youth choir).