Diocese of Georgia Youth ProgramsFebruary 2014
In This Issue
Youth Summit
Living the Story
Summer Camp Early Registration
New Beginnings
Happening Staff
Youth Group Photos
PYE Middle School Event
Sewanee Pilgrimage
Lent in the DoG House
Your Help Is Needed!
Join Our Mailing List
Internet Links

Dear Friends,

So many incredible things have happened in my time in the Diocese of Georgia, from Summer Camp and Youth Programs, to Youth Summits and getting to know all of you.  Wow!  I am blessed to be here.  I, as well as Bishop Benhase, have heard from many of our congregations that they would like help making the youth presence in their churches stronger. 


I have begun working with John Palarine, an Episcopal Priest, who served in the church for 35 years before retiring to form Youth Presence (YP) Ministries.  I will be working with him to help congregations use their strengths to create a strong and vibrant youth presence.  It is the belief of YP Ministries that: 


Youth ministry is different in every place

and possible in every place.  


If you long for your church to have an active and engaging youth ministry, read below for more information on our work with YP Ministries. Thanks for staying connected by reading News from the DoG House.


Happy Camping!

Elizabeth Burns, Missioner for Youth



Launching Youth Presence in Georgia
In May and June, the Diocese of Georgia will launch its Youth Presence Initiative with the same meeting repeated in Augusta, Tifton, and at Honey Creek to maximize participation. This new initiative is designed to guide congregations through a process to create an effective youth ministry for their context. Congregations of every size hoping to positively impact their youth and others in the community are highly encouraged to put together a team of six adults for those first meetings in May.

At the heart of creating and supporting a strong youth presence is what is called the The Three Phase Approach to Youth Ministry. This approach has been proven very effective over many years and provides the framework for any context for a vital ministry with teens. It should be said at the start that this development and training come from a strong belief in youth led ministry and the gifts that our young people bring. We also believe that the presence of youth transforms a congregation and is essential to congregational health and vitality.

Phase One: Creating the Vision 
The first step is to create a vision. Youth ministry must emerge from the situation and context of your congregation. There is no perfect youth program that works for everyone or one person who can single-handedly attract youth. Thriving ministry with and by young people comes from God's vision for you in the place where you are. During the May meetings, participants will be guided through a visioning process for the particular congregation and the community.

Phase Two: Raising up adult teams 
A core value of this approach is that youth ministry requires a team of adults not a single person or pair of people. Most churches think it is difficult if not impossible to find more than one or two to work with youth people. Some churches hire someone thinking that is the solution. Experience shows that it takes many gifts and many people and that several adults can be raised up if we know how to do it and are committed to it. Once the adult teams are identified they must be trained. The Diocese will provide that training in September through this initiative.

Phase Three: Youth Led Ministry  
Youth Presence's strongest core value is to raise up young people as leaders and that it is not only their presence but their leadership that transforms congregations. The vision and adult teams must be in place first in order to build a foundation of support, but this is not hierarchical approach of adults who make all the decisions and who tell young people what they should do, feel and believe. Youth Presence affirms the extraordinary gifts of teenagers and believe that their ability to use those gifts to make a difference in our congregations and the world. We also are convicted that leadership training of young people is as essential as it is for adults. Training for youth will follow, but is not reflected in the schedule below.

Phase One Training Schedule:
May 16-17 - St. Anne's, Tifton
May 30-31 - Flowing Wells Property, Augusta
June 6-7 - Bishop's Hall, Honey Creek

Phase Two Training Schedule (save the dates):
September 5-6
September 12-13
September 26-27

Look for registration information in the March and April editions of News from the DoG House.

A Successful Diocesan Confirmation Retreat 

Ever wish you could ask the Bishop anything? And we mean anything? Eleven confirmands from seven congregations got a chance to do just that when they gathered at Honey Creek this past weekend for the Living the Story Retreat. For the third year in a row, this retreat was led by Maggie Bloodworth, the Minister of youth and children at StLuke's, Hawkinsville. She was assisted by Al Armstrong of St. Patrick's, Albany and Canon Frank Logue and Elizabeth Burns on the Diocesan Staff. 
Bishop Benhase came on Saturday to teach an Instructed Eucharist and to answer questions the participants had been placing in box for Stump the Bishop Questions. While dodging questions like "Can we drive the golf cart around the camp tonight?" he answered questions on topics from sexuality to church life. A favorite part of his presentation for the participants came when the Bishop compared the sanctuary light over the reserve sacrament in our churches to the Krispy Kreme hot light - a truly sacramental sign.
The participants also learned about Holy Scripture, Church History, the Prayer Book, Sacraments, the Creeds, and more. Al Armstrong also led a session on vocation and how all the various professions can all be lived into in response to God's call on our lives. The Sunday Eucharist was celebrated together with the vestry of St. Anne's Tifton who were on retreat this past weekend at Honey Creek. The Rev. Lonnie Lacy presided and Canon Logue preached to the combined group. An album of pictures is online here: Confirmation Retreat Photos 



Bishop Benhase leads the participants through an Instructed Eucharist



Early Registration for Summer Camp Ends This Friday
Procrastination is fine when we're talking about chores, but this is about cold hard cash. Reserve your spot at camp by FRIDAY (2/28) and save some dough! 
Register at honeycreek.org

The 2014 summer camp sessions will be as follows:


High School (Completed grades 9-12)

June 15-21         


Joseph and Mary I (Completed Grades 3-5)

June 22-28         


Peter I (Completed 6-8)

July 6-12              


Joseph and Mary II (Completed grades 3-5)

July 13-19


Peter II (Competed grades 6-8)

July 20-26  


New Beginnings This March at Honey Creek
New Beginnings will take place during the weekend of March 28-30, 2014 at Honey Creek. New Beginnings is a weekend retreat for teenagers in grades 7-9 led by a team of mostly teenagers, with a few adults, and two clergy spiritual directors. The weekend takes participants through a discovery about ourselves, our friends, our families, our faith, and how to live out our faith in our daily lives.   

New Beginnings Staff Application


New Beginnings Participant Application

Apply Now for Happening Staff

The only thing better than attending Happening is to serve of the staff for a Happening weekend. Staff for Happening #93 will serve May 29-June 1. Apply now online

Youth Groups Around the Diocese in Photos

Fun and games when Savannah Convocation Youth Event met at Christ Church Savannah. 


A moment of serious reflection for youth at Good Shepherd Augusta.


St. Anne's Tifton Youth deliver a van full of items for Ruth's Cottage & The Patticake House!



The EYC at St. Paul's Albany ready for paintball fun.            

Province IV Youth Event: Middle School 
Middle Schooler!  This event is for you.  Province IV, our region of the Episcopal Church is hosting a Province IV Youth Event: Middle School addition (PYEMS).  PYEMS will be held in Wilmington, NC June 24th-28th.  In Wilmington participants will get to know others from the larger Episcopal Church and participate in a service project.  The registration cost for this event is $295 plus the cost of transportation.  Get your applications in by March 14, 2014 so that a head count can be given to the Province Coordinators and Elizabeth Burns can coordinate transportation from our Diocese.

Still Time to Register

A Unique, More Reflective, Summer Youth Trip

The Sewanee Mission Trip and Pilgrimage offers a one of a kind experience for teens to gain a deeper appreciation for their sense of place in creation, a sense of connection to those whom they may not see on a regular basis and the knowledge that they carry that connection with them through the rest of their lives. Those who are currently enrolled in 9-12 grade are encouraged to join the Pilgrimage and Mission Trip to Sewanee, Tennessee, June 23-30.


Pilgrimage and Mission Trip Coordinator, the Rev. Joshua Varner, "We embark on this mission, not because we will change the world during our 8 or 9 days in Sewanee this coming summer, but because in traveling we will begin to change ourselves, and begin to bring about the dream God has for us and all creation." 


The group will stay in the reflective setting of St. Mary's Sewanee, a retreat center founded by the Episcopal Sisters of St. Mary and will work at the convent and in the surrounding area. The trip will take place June 23-30, 2014, and the approximate cost is $1,000. Financial aid is available for anyone considering trip. Please email Joshua Varner at jvarner75@gmail.com with questions. 


Registration Deadline January 31st

A flyer with more complete information, including contact information on how to follow up, is online here: Pilgrimage and Mission Trip 2014


The registration form is online here: Sewanee Trip Registration

Attention Youth Leaders and Youth: You are wanted and needed!
This Lent, News from the DoG House will increase from being a monthly newsletter to a weekly one. To make this newsletter successful, we all want, and need, you to send Elizabeth Burns articles, pictures, youth group ideas, etc.

Please send in:
  • Pictures from your church
  • Songs that you love
  • A cool worship idea
  • Your favorite youth group idea
  • A favorite bible verse
  • A devotion that spoke to you
  • Your reflections on a youth program
  • An invitation for others to join in something cool going on around you
During Lent please send in:
  • Your favorite Lenten devotion
  • Your favorite bible verse, devotion, or meditation
  • A youth group activity or theme you are using for lent
Calendar at a Glance 

March 28-29
7th-9th grade
Honey Creek

April 25-27
6th-12th grade
Honey Creek

May 30-June 1
Honey Creek

See Dates Above
3rd-12th grade
Honey Creek

Time Window: ~June 23-July 3,  Firm dates will be set after the first of the year.
9th-12th grade
Sewanee, TN
June 24-28
6th-8th grade
Wilmington, NC

July 8-17
9th-12th grade
Philadelphia, PA





Your Help is needed!

It is our hope that as this newsletter continues to evolve we will hear from many voices.  Please email Elizabeth (eburns@gaepiscopal.org ) about what's going on in your church, a quote you love that you want to share with this group, or a talk you wrote for a youth event, ....whatever is meaningful to you that you want to share with others involved in youth programs.  Don't forget to send in pictures too!