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 MissionerIn yesterday’s edition of iSeek, the diocese announced:
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.
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.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. :)
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.
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.