Saturday, March 06, 2010

Call to Missourians: Youth Ministry

I’ve been involved in this initiative for a while, but I want to put this on the blog now. Let me say up front: This posting will end with my asking you to send money to our diocese.

The Diocese of Missouri used to have a staff member devoted to youth ministry. That position was eliminated a while back, due to budget problems. Since then, some volunteers from among our clergy have been stepping into that role on a volunteer basis, and they have done a marvelous job.

The job is too big for a fully-engaged priest to do in her/his spare time. This issue came to our diocesan convention in the fall of 2009, when a resolution proposed to create a new position … even though that job was not included in the budget proposed to the diocese. That was a little weird. The budget didn’t include any money for a youth missioner, but then a resolution called for the creation of that position.

Michael Kinman set the stage by arguing passage of the resolution and challenging the delegates to contribute the $5,000 that was needed. He stated a dollar amount he would contribute, and challenged other delegates to contribute to the special fund that wasn’t included in the budget.

I went to the microphone to join my voice with those bold voices of people like Mike Kinman and Becky Ragland, saying we must fund this position. Like many others, I also handed Mike a note about how much I would contribute.

I also respected those experienced delegates who warned about adjusting the budget with special fund-raising efforts. They made a strong case that we should fund the diocesan budget as a whole, rather than cherry-picking favorite causes. I saw the logic of their argument, but it seemed (and still seems!) critical to me that we provide funds for someone to shape a diocesan youth ministry.

And that’s what we are doing: Not creating a full-time position of youth minister, but providing funds to hire someone who could create a youth ministry based on a network that would endure.

The resolution finally passed in this form:
Funding the Youth Missioner
At diocesan convention in November, we affirmed the importance of our youth and our commitment to youth ministry by passing resolution M-170 regarding a Diocesan Youth Missioner.
The resolution, as amended:
1. BE IT RESOLVED that this 170th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri reaffirms its commitment to Youth Ministry as a vital mission of this diocese;
2. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this convention encourages the Bishop of Missouri to appoint a Diocesan Youth Missioner on or before May 1, 2010, for a one-year term; and
3. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Diocesan Youth Missioner be tasked with revitalizing the Diocesan Youth Commission and building a sustainable network of mutual support and creative collaboration for youth ministry in the Diocese of Missouri.
In yesterday’s edition of iSeek, the diocese announced:
We're on track to announce a missioner before May 1st; there are routine H.R. procedures to accomplish before this office makes the announcement.
Also at convention, a parallel initiative was begun informally among attendees to raise an additional $5000 to fund the position. (The copy of the budget as passed by the 170th Convention is online here.) So far, over $3000 has been raised to this goal by members of the diocese. If you would like to contribute to this effort, you may do so online at http://www.diocesemo.org/donate or include "youth missioner" on the memo line of a check sent to the Offices of the Bishop.
It’s very cool that we’ve already contributed over $3,000. But we need more. I hope some of you members of the Diocese of Missouri may be able and willing to help. I know you're out there, and I know you're reading this blog, for the SiteMeter tells me so. :)

Donate via the diocesan site; go to the site and click on “Diocesan Youth Missioner Fund.” Or if you want to mail a check, send it to: Offices of the Bishop, 1210 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO 63103 with “youth missioner” on the memo line of your check. You can also contribute by the Facebook group we created.

I hope this news will reach my Missouri friends who may not have heard this news before. Of course, if any of you outside the Diocese of Missouri want to contribute a few dollars, that would do my heart good, too.

Fellow Missouri diocese blogfriends, if you want to link to this news and appeal, that would be good, too.

9 Comments:

Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

Thanks for the link. I intend to do my part!

3/07/2010 7:04 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

Everyone says they want youth but those positions are always the first to go -- good for those who stepped out in faith.

3/07/2010 7:19 AM  
Blogger Elle said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/07/2010 2:48 PM  
OpenID eighthsacrament said...

It totally blows my mind that we say "youth are our future", but when it comes time to cut programs and staff, youth are too often the first to go. I find that youth/campus ministers often have to justify their expenses moreso than other clergy. Buying pizza for 30 kids isn't really related to spiritual pursuits, yet nobody really questions the value of funding coffee hour. Good for Mike and everyone else who is making a stand. I'll try to put in a good word around our parish.

3/07/2010 2:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, KirkE.

Ann & 8thSacrament: I totally agree with you, and so did a vast majority of the delegates at our Diocesan Convention. That's why they voted overwhelmingly for the resolutions.

We've had an assistant priest from one of our parishes serving kinda pro bono as youth ministry coordinator, but it's time to put our money where our mouths are.

What we hope to achieve with the fund-raising venture is to pay someone who can establish a network or mechanism or some sort of system whereby youth ministry can still be coordinated at the diocesan level ... even while we can't afford to have a full-time person on staff.

By the way, the youth coordinator wasn't exactly the first person whose position was eliminated. Along with her went our marvelous Director of Ministry Development, who assisted the Canon to the Ordinary in discernment processes and working with parishes in rector search processes. We lost both those positions about 4 years ago, and I feel their loss personally, as well as the loss to the diocese. And this year, we lost the Canon to the Theologian who ran the Episcopal School for Ministry here -- the academic program that trained clergy aspirants as well as lay people. We've pretty much cut diocesan staff to the bone ... and the remaining staff are working their buns off to keep up.

3/07/2010 4:34 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

8thSacrament, are you in the Diocese of Missouri? Just curious. I enjoy your blog.

3/07/2010 4:34 PM  
OpenID eighthsacrament said...

You can just call me Elle : ) Close: Kansas. Thanks, I'm glad someone, anyone appreciates my two cents from time to time.

3/07/2010 5:14 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Yep. I do. And our exchange reminds me I've been meaning to add your blog to my blogroll. Done now. Thanks!

3/07/2010 5:40 PM  
OpenID eighthsacrament said...

Thanks Lisa, I appreciate it.

3/07/2010 6:11 PM  

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