Friday, January 15, 2010

DAYA Enews -January 2010 Article

To Answer the Call…

At any given moment, I am exactly where I am meant to be.

It took me a long time to reach a place where I could believe that statement, but I only now need to look back over the most critical moments in my life to know that it is true. And the moments that amaze me the most are the ones where I leapt freely from a place of comfort to a place unknown and landed exactly where I was supposed to be. Those leaps have been the most exhilarating because they have truly been leaps of faith. I’d like to tell you about a particularly transformational leap that I would like to invite you to take as well.

About a year after I started going back to church (I had taken a long, long hiatus), I heard about a young adult ministry called Vocare. I didn’t know much beyond the fact that a number of the people at my church had attended the previous year and that Vocare meant “to call” in Latin. When I asked a dear friend about it, he said “just go – trust me.”

Unusual for me, I didn’t question it. I filled out a registration form and a month later, I found myself at a camp surrounded by other young adults embarking on the great Vocare experience. Along with all of the other participants, I was a “pilgrim,” and there couldn’t have been a more fitting name. We were pilgrims experiencing a notable milestone on our respective spiritual journeys. For me, it was transformational.

From the first day, I was immersed in a loving and energetic community of Christians my own age. We spent time in fellowship, prayer, singing and deep discussions that enabled me to tackle questions that I had not considered before. I was able to step away from the busyness of my life and actively and prayerfully consider how God is calling me. I left the weekend empowered, energized and renewed, and with a whole new community of friends—many of whom are still a part of my life.

I have now served on staff for three other Vocare weekends throughout the Southeast, and I am blessed to be serving the next Vocare in Georgia as lay rector. On the weekend, there will be a series of talks and discussions that are designed to help us to grow in our awareness of being called by God and to help one another in answering this call. The weekend is not pressure-filled, but rather a fun, empowering, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Besides talks and discussions, we’ll pray together, eat, sing, and play. There will be time for quiet reflection and time for talking with clergy who are there as spiritual directors for the weekend. There will also be time for rest.

Where ever you are on your spiritual journey, Vocare has something to offer. I invite you join us on February 19-21, 2010 at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Georgia for the next Vocare weekend. Registration forms are due by January 22, 2010. The cost for the entire weekend is $60, but scholarship assistance is available. If you have any questions or would like a registration form, please contact me at

I hope to see you there!


Julie Zorn Shipp

Vocare #19 Lay Rector

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

DAYA Enews -December 2009 Article

The Young Adult Summit

Written by Julie Zorn

There's something special about being at Camp Mikell in the Fall-the deep hues of orange and yellow enriching the landscape, the crisp chill in the air, and the warm fireplace roaring in the ODH. But the weekend of October 17-19 was made even more special as over 70 young adults from 11 provinces and both bishops from the Diocese of Atlanta came together for the second annual Young Adult Summit.

As young adults, we find ourselves in the sometimes-difficult process of transitioning between the comfort of living at home and establishing our own careers and families, all while looking for our place in the church. With a focus on empowering young adults to grow in our faith and live out the Gospel in our own lives, the Young Adult Summit offered the perfect mix of workshops, panel discussions and time for fellowship-all geared toward that very goal.

The weekend's theme was "Make like a tree and bear fruit," and it wasn't until Bishop Alexander's keynote on Friday evening that I truly connected with this part of our Great Commission. He said, and I paraphrase here, that we are not asked to go out and do anything that we were not designed to do. An apple tree bears apples. An orange tree bears oranges. As Christians, we bear love-the very love that we were shown by our Lord Jesus Christ. In the time of our lives that is filled with so much complexity, the simplicity of that message resonated with me. We are asked to bear love.

As the weekend progressed, I could see how that very love was amazingly present. It could be seen in the dedication all of the presenters to their various workshops, in the staff's hard work to ensure that the weekend ran smoothly, and in all of the participants who gathered together.

The Summit was such a great testament to the strength of young adult ministries. In the span of three days, I personally reconnected with the Great Commission and rediscovered the joy of being engulfed in a large community of young adults. I was reminded that even though we don't often find each other in the pews of our parishes, there is an incredible amount of committed and passionate young adult Episcopalians out there. It has often been said that young adults are the future of our church, and looking around the ODH on that crisp October weekend, I couldn't have been more excited about the months and years that lie ahead.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

DAYA Enews -November 2009 Article

New Ministry for Young Adults in the Northwest Metro Atlanta Area:

“A new young adult ministry is in the works for the northwestern part of the Atlanta Metro area, offering fellowship and worship for college aged and young adults. This new ministry is parish based, but will serve multiple parishes and rotate locations to serve the needs of the members.”

When asked why I was interested in forming a new young adult ministry, I started to think about my own experiences within the church. There has always been a general idea that there was a missing element within the church community as a whole. The one group that I really didn’t encounter was an elusive specimen known as a young adult, which I understand is a portion of “nomadic” church members who occasionally attends service. The absences of these people made me wonder several things, 1) where were these individuals, 2) did these young adults just not care, and 3) how do we bring them back?

The simplest explanation to answer where the young adults were was an easy question – somewhere else. I started to wonder if there was just a time when we as young adults merely fell off the radar in between youth group and having a child. That answer too, seemed fairly simple to answer and yet it offered no real comfort as why I felt alone or misplaced within the church. It’s hard to find a place or identity within a community where the age group as a whole is always adrift in the whirlwind of transition from “college kid” to an adult ready to take on the world. It took the transition from Auburn, AL to the metro Atlanta area to make me realize that missed being involved with a community of my peers in a parish setting. That realization led to conversations sparked the idea of new ministry specifically for young adults that was not a parish ministry, but instead a ministry of parishes. Not identified with a single parish, but with several parishes to allow a group of individuals to form an additional opportunity for community and fellowship. This group will serve the northwest metro Atlanta area and serve both college aged and young adults in monthly fellowship activities.

Our first activity will be a potluck dinner at 7pm on November 15th at Christ Church. The church is located at 1210 Wooten Lake Rd NW Kennesaw, GA 30144-1347. The main dish will be provided, but everyone should bring a side dish of some sort to this meet and greet. Please note that because of the approaching Advent Season will not be meeting until January. If you have any questions, contact Sean Holder 678-230-9214 or e-mail at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DAYA Enews -October 2009 Article



The Church of Our Saviour

Benedictine prayer having found its roots in a monastic way of life is rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition. This form of prayer is based on the life of St Benedict who lived during the 5th / 6th century and formed a Rule for a way of life that has been followed both within the monasteries of the world, as well as by many outside these walls and living within the world. It is here where we hope to share in a larger community participating in this monastic form of a daily life: prayer – worship - study – work.

Dewey Weiss Kramer, PhD., Author, University Professor and well known Benedictine Scholar who travels the world to deliver workshops and lead retreats on the subject of St Benedict and others who have practiced this “monastic” way of life, both in the monasteries and within every day life will participate throughout the Saturdays by way of teaching about the Rule of St Benedict as well exploring ways for us to bring the monastery to the world.

Saturdays mornings

 9:30 – 10:00 / Benedictine morning prayer

 10:00 / Holy Eucharist

 10:30 – 12:30 / work & study

 1:00 – shared meal

Life is unified and made sacred. A Benedictine spirituality, like any gospel-based way of life, is a living recognition that God is present, as seen and experienced through Jesus Christ our Lord. We too seek the sacred, internal transformation of individuals, families, and we pray communities. This practice of humility, recognizing this prayer life as the “Work of God”, takes us outside of ourselves, seeks to bring us all closer within the kingdom, experience the power, and participate in the glory forever and ever.

…join us in this rhythm of life


DAYA Enews -September 2009 Article

Reasons to Attend the Young Adult Summit
by Bishop Keith Whitmore

Now why would I want to give up a beautiful Fall weekend to go to the Diocesan Young Adult Summit? The answers are endless.

* I love being at Camp Mikell, it brings back such good memories.
* I like sleeping in a cabin with hundreds of other people.
* I love eating out-so Camp is like that-good food no dishes to wash.
* The DAYA members are so cool!
* What the heck is DAYA? Maybe I should find out.
* Could be I might to discover more about me, that spiritual side of me that never quite gets satisfied.
* Maybe I would like to be with people my own age who believe many of the things I do.
* Maybe I would like to be with people my own age who have differing opinions from mine so I can explore.
* I just like meeting new people so this should be a blast.
* I'm a little shy with new people, but this group will give me the space I need.
* Just cause God loves me.

See there are an endless number of reasons not to miss this. Your reasons are the right reasons. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

DAYA Enews -General Convention Report 09

I just returned from the Young Adult Festival at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, and I have to share how much the opportunity to represent Emmanuel Parish and the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta meant to me.

This five-day festival was held in conjunction with the General Convention to offer young adults from around the globe opportunity for fellowship, workshops and worship. It also provided opportunity for the young adult ministry of the church to be readily seen and appreciated by both Deputies and Bishops at the General Convention.

For me, it was an opportunity to learn from other young adults around the world what works best in their ministry to this vital and important part of our church, both globally and in our local parishes. In addition, the workshops offered as part of the festival offered an enriching variety of experiences in worship, formation and community.

The opening reception of the festival was a wonderful event where I had opportunity to meet young men and women from around the globe. I was fascinated with a young lady from Haiti who spoke with me about the challenges of poverty and violence in her country, and my heart sank as she shared the plight of so many of our fellow Christians struggling to survive that poverty and violence. My conversation with several young women from Scotland was cheerful and happy as they described their adventures in the United States. I was happy to meet my roommate for the festival, who also served on the design team, during the evening’s event. It was a marvelous start to what would be a very moving and engaging five days.

Each day many of us would gather for breakfast and then shuttle to General Convention. I spent most mornings observing legislative committees, the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops as they deliberated on the life of the church. The polity of the church is truly amazing, and clearly is founded in the same democratic ideals as those of our national life. Everyone who spoke did so with great passion and earnestness, and at times the emotion of a speaker stirred my own emotions. This was especially true when speakers shared their most intimate life experiences in support or opposition of a particular issue. It was difficult to avoid tears when several at the microphone began to cry as they spoke with great passion about the matter at hand. This was especially true of the matter regarding the inclusion of all the Baptized in the full life of the church.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the festival had to be the workshops held most days.

The first workshop I attended was entitled “Community Expressions” which centered on the unique ways in which local customs and practices are incorporated into worship. The workshop presented a variety of ethnic musical traditions from South Africa and some liturgical traditions from Japan. It was a fascinating and enjoyable time. I then attended the workshop entitled “Meditation: Beyond OM” which offered a brief discussion regarding the role of meditation in prayer and spirituality. This workshop used the Labyrinth as the example of meditative prayer, and I had hoped for a deeper discussion of other meditative practices.

Saturday’s first workshop perhaps took me out of my comfort zone the most. It was entitled “Don’t Just Sit There! Body Prayer” and was entirely about liturgical dance. Now you may not know me, but I’m a very tall, stout guy who has good dexterity, but I’m definitely not a dancer. This workshop was for me one of the most intimidating experiences, but also proved to be one of the most enjoyable. We learned to use dance to enhance the liturgy; yes, it sounds odd, but it really worked. I could see the value of this immersive form of worship, especially for younger people and children. The next workshop was much more in my comfort zone and was entitled “Prayer Beads: More than a Pretty Necklace.” This workshop offered a primer on the use of prayer beads for centering prayer, and then each participant had opportunity to make a set of prayer beads for personal use. It was tactile, engaging and wonderfully relaxing to assemble my first set of prayer beads. I loved it!

On Saturday evening I had opportunity to attend a special event entitled “Simple Dinner” in which the concept of sustainable farming was presented in a very meaningful and relevant manner. The use of local produce and meat in our meal that evening was the start to an engaging and encouraging presentation about the need for us as Christians to ensure that our environment is well cared for by society, and on a more personal level how the earth can provide for each of us the nourishment and sustenance that we need through our own hands. I believe very strongly in good stewardship of the earth and its’ resources, and this presentation really reinforced the need for this to be one of the focuses of the church.

The most moving experience for me had to be the worship.

At many of the Eucharistic services during the General Convention, I had opportunity to serve as a Eucharistic Minister. This is a ministry in which I serve at my own parish, and I was happy to do so during the General Convention. It was a blessed moment when during my serving of the Host at one of the Eucharistic services, I communicated my own Bishop Neil Alexander. I've never been so moved by the Holy Spirit as I was during Sunday's Eucharistic service, and my emotions overwhelmed me after taking communion. Being fully present in that moment and knowing that with us thousands upon thousands of fellow Christians were doing the same act of worship brought tears to my eyes. To think that each of us are one in the past, present and future when we partake of the Eucharist was overwhelming. What a gift from God! I haven't cried like that since my Mother passed away.

It's always a blessing to be in the body of Christ, and this experience was no different. Being with young men and women from around the world this last week was a joyful, engaging and exciting experience. Participating in the various workshops was great, and seeing the polity of the Episcopal Church in action was amazing. Truly the Holy Spirit moves in this body as the center of every action appeared to be centered on our love for one another and Christ's love in the world.

In all that I experienced at the General Convention, I realized ever more fully how blessed I am to be part of the Emmanuel Parish family. Everyone in my parish are blessings to me, and my unbounded joy at knowing them inspires me to greater service to my parish, my church and my God. I will carry my flame and share it brightly with all those around me, that they may experience the love of Christ through me.

I know that the love of Christ is indeed for all people in all of time, past, present and future.

General Convention and the Young Adults Festival was another opportunity to enhance my own ministry with young adults in Emmanuel Parish. The experience offered me a greater understanding of the importance of this vital ministry to the church, my diocese and my parish. As I shared my time with so many other young adults one thing became clear: each of us brings to our ministries and our lives a passion to share Christ with others and in doing so to bring His kingdom into being for us now through community and love for one another.

Brian Paul Freese is a parishioner at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Athens, Georgia. He serves as the lay coordinator for the young adults ministry, called E2YA, as well as a Eucharistic Minister, Lector and Adult Acolyte.

DAYA Enews -August 2009 Article

Reflections From Our Pilgrimage

“New York City? Did you say New York City? For a pilgrimage? … I’m in.” As a relatively new member of the Episcopal Church, received in October, I have been eager to take advantage of opportunities to learn more about the church and to meet other young adults who share my faith. The New York pilgrimage met both of those goals plus a lot of fun and an opportunity for personal spiritual growth. Lauren Woody did an amazing job organizing the trip to allow for a good mix of sightseeing, service to others, spiritual growth, two performances, and even an entire day of connecting with several departments at 815 Second Avenue including an hour and book signing with the Presiding Bishop Katherine.
Wednesday was my favorite day. Lauren, Elizabeth, David, Tiffany, and I all went for an unexpected subway tour of the Bronx after we missed our stop. Later that we morning, we strolled through the amazing park surrounding The Cloisters, which is a primarily religious art and architecture museum own by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After lunch, we traveled to the actual Met. Lauren had scheduled for us each to have audio tours at both museums so while we stayed together as a group, we were also each able to take our time and select the exhibits most meaningful to us as individuals. I particularly enjoyed the American art wing at the Met.
This relaxing time surrounded by history represented in so many beautiful things allowed me to process all of the meetings at 815 Second Avenue the day before. As I studied the different and similar ways civilizations have understood their world and worshiped their gods throughout the centuries, I felt more able to connect my experiences and my understanding while glimpsing the very small role my life plays in humanity’s tapestry. To top the day off, we worshiped at Smokey Mary’s for 12:15 p.m. Eucharist and ate lunch with a couple of the congregation members. This break in the day allowed me to re-center on the purpose of pilgrimage and further connect my faith and the modern Episcopalian order of worship to centuries of church worship.
For all of you were unable to join us, you missed not only one of the best deals on travel for the season, but an amazing time learning about American and Episcopal Church history and yourself. Most importantly, you missed a wonderful opportunity to connect with some amazing young adults in the Diocese of Atlanta and with the community of New York’s Manhattan. Please consider the DAYA trip opportunity next year even though I doubt Broadway’s Lion King and an opera called Shakespeare Comes to America will be on the agenda. ;-)

-Alayna Price