June 22, 2019
Hi, my name is Erin, and I’m a millennial leader in the Episcopal Church. I am the Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator in the Diocese of Fond du Lac, the Episcopal Church in Northeast Wisconsin. I oversee all diocesan youth programs, like Summer Camp, Happening, New Beginnings, and lock-ins, as well as remain connected on both provincial and denominational levels. I also serve as the Youth Minister at All Saints Episcopal Church in Appleton, WI. In both roles, I work to recruit and train volunteers to help run diocesan and local programs connected to faith formation. This also includes Sunday School, Youth Group, service work, ecumenical events, worship services, and more. This is a small part of my story and how I continue answering the call to grow and lead in Youth Ministry.
Growing up in the Episcopal Church, I felt a pull toward a deeper relationship with God and with others around me. I was drawn to connecting people across generations and teaching about the traditions of the faith. In my formative years, I had many adults in my life who taught me a great deal about worship, formation, and governance within the Church. They taught about the relational side of being in a faith community. The Way of Jesus is to be intentional with our love of God and neighbor, to love sacrificially, and to share our time, talents, and gifts with the world around us.
In the years I’ve been in Youth Ministry, those relational messages have been some of the most vital. I’ve walked with students as they’ve lost friends to suicide and as they’ve struggled in families impacted by addiction, divorce, and other struggles. I watch as the students I work with, and indeed, my own kids, are growing up in a time of regular school shootings, bomb threats, and lock-downs. And I rejoice as I see congregations and communities, colleagues and peers joining together to meet the needs of our young people and being the embodiment of God’s love and mercy in a time that’s starved for it.
As I dream of the future in Youth Ministry, particularly through my context, I aim to continue offering students safe spaces to come and rest. I hope that we adults remember how incredibly valuable young people are and work to keep them as safe as we’re able. I pray students continue to raise their prophetic voices to hold adults accountable. Finally, I will also continue to advocate for fuller inclusion of students within the life and ministry of the Episcopal Church.
My name is Erin, and I’m a millennial leader in the Episcopal Church. I’m part of a group of dedicated leaders within the church who care deeply about the Gospel message, and Youth Ministry is simply one part of that message. It is challenging, rewarding, messy, chaotic, hilarious, and real, and I am thankful for the blessing of this calling. I give thanks for the families, volunteers, colleagues, and everyone who make this work worth doing.