First off I would like to thank Father Peter, Maryland Dodson and St John's Episcogolf for giving me the opportunity to go to Kentucky. There were 9 young people from New Hampshire with Pat Seltz and Lauren Zimmerman watching over us.
Tuesday July 19th I woke up at 3:00 AM to be in Manchester airport by 5:30 AM to catch our flight at 6:49.Got to O'Hare 8:30 with the time zone, left there 10:50. Landed in Lexington at 1:10 back to normal time. A bus met us at the airport and we drove about 1 hour to Berea. We couldn't get into our rooms until 5 PM, so we wandered around a little ate dinner 4:30 moved in after dinner, unpacked, got comfortable. My roommate was from Texas.
Went to the opening program at 7PM. Here they welcomed us to Kentucky.Went over the rules and such. After opening program, I just kind of wandered the campus some more, admiring the antebellum architecture. I introduced myself to people from all over and made some friends. It was so easy to meet people. It was as if we were all one family, though we were from allover. I headed back to the dorm at 10:30 for our dorm meeting where they went over the dorm rules and then went to bed.Wednesday: Got up around 7 AM and got breakfast. After breakfast we went to opening Eucharist where the Right Rev Michael Curry gave a phenomenal hour and a half sermon, that kept us all entranced, where he continually touched on how "God breathed life into us."
Then it was off to small groups. Small groups were where roughly 10 or so participants got together and had activities to do and stuff. The small group I was in didn't really do much. We mostly sat around and talked. After small groups it was free time and optional activities. During this time I just hung out with some people from Kansas. After this was afternoon program where they showed us a video about a diocese that was doing Mission work. They also spoke about the Cultural Carnival going on that night. Again off to small groups, where again my group didn't do too much. For dinner we had a Provincial Pizza Party. For this all of Province 1 got together and had pizza. Then we set up for the Cultural Carnival. After setup I went to a photography workshop where I got a lot of good advice and Ideas and then couldn't wait to get back home to my camera which I had left at home so unfortunately I don't have too many pictures but found some on the EYE site.
Now came time for the Cultural Carnival. What the Cultural Carnival was, was all the different groups brought something to give our from their state or homeland. The items here on the piano are just a few that I received while making my way through the chaotic crowd. I have more set up in the Parish Hall. After the carnival I hung out with the people from Kansas again and then went to bed.
Thursday: got up 7ish and went to breakfast. Morning program was roughly the same, then off to small groups where again all we did was talk, then off to lunch and after lunch freetime. Anyone noticing a pattern yet? Then for afternoon program they had public forums. I kind of got dragged into the "Lets talk about sex" forum by the Kansas people which I have so far failed to mention were 3 girls. The forum was a little different from what I was expecting. The way I've always heard premarital sex spoken about was it was a huge sin and if you took part in it you were going straight to hell. Here the first thing the lady conducting the forum started off with was that we were fortunate to be in the Episcopal Church because it was a very forgiving church. She then went onto talk about safe sex and such. After Forums we had about 45 mins of free time and then we went to dinner. After dinner were work shops where again I was dragged into 'Let's talk about sex" by the Kansas girls. This was mainly about HIV/AIDS and how it gets passed around and that statistically the fastest growing group with HIV/AIDS are under 21. Then came the highlight of the week.
The Hip Hop Eucharist.
Now let me say that I'm not a fan of Hip Hop music at all, but if you want to get youth involved more in church that's definitely the way to do it. I have a couple of little prayer cards from it if people would like to take a look after service. After this our group from New Hampshire got together with Bishop Robinson and talked about our week so far and he told us he was leaving to go to his uncle's funeral. Then we tried to order Chinese food and pizza but everywhere was closed. So we all headed back to our dorms for bed.
Friday: Woke up, breakfast, morning program. This morning program was a bit different. We had a group called "Friends of the Groom" come to perform for us. Though, sadly they didn't do bachelor parties as the name might suggest, though the leader said one of these days he was going to respond to one of the calls about that and see their reaction when Jesus pops out of the Cake. I sadly am unable to remember them very clearly so cannot give a summery of the three skits they did, just that the first two were fairly comical and the last was very, very powerful. We then went to small groups again. Here we actually did something. We had to make a prayer flag which started "May God keep you and...." and then everyone in the group had to come up with their own answer. Then off to lunch and free time. For my workshop today I went to Labyrinth. Now in case there is someone who doesn't know what the Labyrinth is it is a path that winds its way around a circle that takes approx 7 minutes from entrance to center. It is done in complete silence with very light background music and you pray, reflect, and/or meditate all the way through, when you get to the center and on the way out. Now I did a Labyrinth in New York at St. John's for Night Watch and for some reason the one in a gym in Kentucky was much more powerful and moving. Most of the kids that did it, when they finished sat and wept. And I was almost one of them. On my way out I came very close to tears. For dinner after this was a bluegrass festival with cotton candy popcorn and dunking booths which I must say Presiding Bishop Griswald was a victim of. You can check the pictures in the Parish Hall.
This for me was the best dinner just because I was craving BBQ ribs all week and I got to have some for dinner so I was very happy. For free time I went to the music team concert. After that I met up with my group again, where we had pizza complements of Bishop Robinson. Then it was off to bed.Saturday: The morning program was a Talk Show where they interviewed the participants from Province 9 who answered questions in Spanish and then in English, a member of the music team, an adult sponsor and Presiding Bishop Griswald. We then went to small groups where we mainly said our goodbyes. After Lunch was Provencal meetings where everyone from Province 1 said their names and which diocese they were from. For dinner all of us from New Hampshire went out for pizza. Then to the last Eucharist and after that was the block party with games and dancing and a bunch of fun stuff. And I'm a little embarrassed to say that I was beaten in Gladiator by a girl from Georgia who was legally blind. After all this it was off to bed for our last night in Kentucky.
Sunday: Woke up, finished packing and got my room squared away. Then it was on the bus by 8 AM for the airport.The one thing I didn't like about leaving so early was that I didn't get to say good bye to half the people I would have liked to. We had some difficulties at O'Hare and we got into Manchester about 11:45PM.
Conclusion: I had an absolutely fantastic time at EYE and hope to go back in three years as a peer minister as I won't be old enough next time to be a chaperone. Again I would like to thank Father Peter and Maryland Dodson for sponsoring me and I would like to suggest in three years time that we send other youth from St. John's. It is a gratifying experience they should not miss.