Recently Amy Esposito, Province I Official Youth Presence 2009, reflected upon her experience at her first General Convention. Consider Amy's story as you pray about who might be called to serve as a member of the GCOYP in 2012 in Indianapolis. Read about the application and nomination process open now through January 15, 2012 by scrolling down to the previous post from December 1.
Why did you apply for the Official Youth Presence?
I attended the Episcopal Youth Event in 2008 and was absolutely blown away by the number of active and engaged youth I met there. Coming from the tiny diocese of Rhode Island with an even smaller program for youth, I had no idea that such a large and welcoming community existed within The Episcopal Church. On returning to Rhode Island, I knew that my generation of young adults in the Church could and needed to make a difference. As our society evolves, so must the Episcopal Church. I applied to represent the youth at GC09 because I believe that the youth is the future of the Church. With just a mere 2% of delegates under the age of 25 at GC09, it is up to us to speak up and be heard. We can make a positive difference in the Church, by engaging with our brothers in sisters in Christ.
What was the most rewarding moment of GC09?
The most rewarding moment at GC09 was writing and speaking to the resolution I co-wrote with my fellow GCOYP delegate, Jackie Bray. Although the resolution did not reach the House of Deputies due to a time constraint, knowing that as a 16 year old girl, I was expressing my opinion to a committee who actually listened to me was extremely rewarding.*
What was the most frustrating moment of GC09 and how did you get through it?
At GC09, I met and worked with people from all over the country and world. Coming from extremely liberal New England, I was exposed to other youth and deputies who did not necessarily share my opinion. What I believed to be a wonderful development in the Church others saw as detrimental. Learning to respectfully listen and understand opinions that differed from mine was challenging, especially when those opinions put a strain on friendships. As frustrating as this was, I learned that it is important to respect everyone’s opinion regardless of how I felt about the subject.
How did you feel God's presence at GC09?
Although General Convention is centered the politics of the Episcopal Church, it is important to remember that God is with us at all times. Even in the midst of a debate on whether or not to ordain LGBTQ bishops or which group should receive the most funding, God’s unfailing love is present in the words and actions made. At the end of each day, Delegates and Bishops remember that they are there to do God’s work on earth. I felt God’s presence most strongly when gathered together with my fellow OYP delegates and when sharing the Eucharist with all present at GC09. The presence of God continued to grace the OYP as we discussed certain policies, questioned our faith, and grew closer than ever.
What difference has GCOYP09 made in your life?
GCOYP09, above all, introduced me to some of the kindest people I have ever met. I am still close friends with some of my fellow GCOYPers and although we may live on different sides of the country, we continue to keep in touch. Attending GC09 changed the way I view the Episcopal Church. It motivated me to continue to be an active participant, not only in terms of my faith, but in the political aspects of the Church. My experience as a member of the GCOYP has encouraged me to continue to learn about the Episcopal Church and inter-religious dialogue. I can’t wait to attend GC2012 as a deputy to continue helping shape the future of The Episcopal Church!
Our next GCOYP'09 story comes from Michael Sahdev from Province IV. Stay tuned to learn about his amazing ministry of youth in leadership in the councils of the church.
*Amy and Jackie, with help and support from other members of GCOYP'09, diocesan chancellors, and clergy , co-authored a resolution for the Official Youth Presence to have vote in the House of Deputies in addition to the seat and voice the group already enjoys. There were canonical issues attached to the resolution in need of deeper reflection and research and the resolution was referred to the Committee on Constitution and Canons. A full report on the resolution will appear in the "Blue Book" for GC'12 and will be reported here as well.