Young Adult Festival
models message of welcome during
General Convention

July 11, 2003 (ENS) The first-ever Young Adult Festival occurring in conjunction witha General Convention of the Episcopal Church will gather 18-30 year olds from throughout the United States and abroad from July 29-August8, 2003. The event, designed as a holistic experience of the 74th General Convention, will offer workshops and speakers, corporate worship,
fellowship opportunities, and the ability to observe and participate in
convention proceedings.

Festival participants will live in community during their time at
convention, following the core tenets of "Hospitality, Formation, Witness,
and Mission" that are part of the festival's "Statement of Purpose," a
community covenant. "The Statement of Purpose is more than just a set
of house rules," explained R.C. Laird, a member of the festival design
team from Minneapolis. "The Statement represents our desire to live into
the baptismal covenant in our everyday lives, in our individual callings and
ministries, and we are excited to share this idea in a very visible way with
our brothers and sisters at convention."

The program was designed with an eye toward encouraging young adults
to develop a healthy, integrated approach to their whole lives, with
particular focus on spiritual, physical, and financial issues. Participants
will spend self-directed mornings connecting with convention as
observers and visitors, attending committee hearings and legislative
sessions, and networking with delegates and others. Afternoon
programming will include speakers, as well as workshops in topics such
as prayer and meditation, nutrition, stress relief, and personal financial
management. Nutritional, spiritual, and financial advisors and massage
therapists will be on hand for one-on-one guidance. In the evenings, the
community will lead corporate prayer of various formats (from traditional
to Taizé) to which the entire convention is invited.

Scheduled speakers include Dean George Werner, president of the House
of Deputies, noted author and artist Amanda Millay Hughes, and others.
Legislative briefings, led each evening by Joseph Smith, Public Policy
Network coordinator of the Episcopal Church Office of Government
Relations, will keep festival participants apprised of new developments in
convention proceedings and add to the educational component of the

"The festival is different than other ‘young adult'-themed events that have
happened in the past," clarified Uchenna Ukaegbu, a design team member
from Ann Arbor, Michigan. "It's not a social gathering, or a vocations
conference, or a retreat, although it has elements of all of those things. We
want to equip ourselves to be fully involved in the life of the church. The
workshops we've scheduled will help us learn more about how we
function. The daily legislative briefings and resource library we have
established for the festival will help us learn more about how the church
functions. It's not just about young adults being ‘ministered to'--it's about
how we take our places and fulfill our roles in the church."

The festival is being underwritten by the Young Adult and Higher
Education Ministries Office of the Ministries with Young People Cluster
of the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Douglas Fenton, staff officer for
Young Adult and Higher Education Ministries, says of the role of young
adults in the church, "Know this: there are passionately motivated and
committed young adults in the Episcopal Church faithfully striving to
exercise their baptismal ministries. They are seeking ways to both
welcome and be welcomed into the Church as a wider fellowship, and it is
a struggle and a joy for which they are prepared. They are choosing to be
witnesses to Christ."

Most activities will be held at 425 Oak Grove Street ("425"), a property
owned by St. Mark's Cathedral. Just four blocks from the convention
center, 425 will be a nearby source of hospitality and respite from the
rigors of Convention, a resource center for young adults and others
involved in convention proceedings, and a hub for education for the entire
community. It will also serve as a hostel for young adults who need a
place to stay for part or all of convention.

The festival will run two sessions, July 29-August 3, and August 3-8.

The Young Adult Festival Web site .

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4/30/03 -j


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