As our team sat at DCA airport in Virginia, waiting for our flight back to Seattle, I knew a part of us would forever be changed by our time at the Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) 2023. We had just spent the last four days at the University of Maryland, learning, sharing, growing, and meeting 700+ Episcopal youth and their adult leaders from all over the world. We had been surrounded by a sea of people whose hearts were on fire for God and who had come together to be in joyful community with their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
On the last night at EYE, our team spent time sharing our reflections and highlights from the week together. A unanimous highlight for all of us was hearing Bishop Michael Curry speak during our morning worship on the second day–it felt extra special to see him as this would be his last EYE. Other highlights included meeting youth from so many other dioceses, attending workshops on a variety of topics (ranging from Church Governance, Gun Control, Becoming a Welcoming Community, and Political Advocacy), walking in the rain during the daily thunderstorms, and starting and ending each day with worship. Our unanimous lowlight was the humidity and the 14-minute walk from the dorms to the dining hall for meals!
EYE happens every three years–I think many of us left wishing it happened more often. It is an experience and memory we will carry with us for the rest of our life. It is my hope and prayer that our Diocese will continue to support, encourage, and invite youth to participate in future EYEs to come! It is so important for our young people to know that the Episcopal Church is alive and active all around the world.
Thank you for the prayers for our team and all those who participated in EYE. It was an honor to accompany our five youths and represent the Diocese of Olympia.
The closing prayer at our last EYE worship service:
You have been called on behalf of EYE 2023 to go out as witnesses to the Risen Christ, as ambassadors, to uphold and seek to serve Christ in all persons and places. Through Christ and with God, you will share in ministry of love and encouragement to build up the body of Christ and to care for all.
Diocesan Youth Special Projects Coordinator