Dear Friends in Christ,
This year has presented us with a unique set of challenges. In the early days of the pandemic, I would have never been able to predict where we are now. None of us expected to see spring retreats canceled, an entire summer at Grace Point lost, and countless sacrifices in our daily lives. Although we are not able to gather together as we normally would, God is still with us. God is here and calling us to walk with him and continue our work as Christians.
Last spring, we were hoping that we would be able to gather together again by the fall. However, it has become increasingly clear that there is no safe way to offer in person diocesan youth events while also being safe. With the safety of our young people as our number one priority, we must announce that we will not gather for in person diocesan youth retreats this fall (at least through December 2020). This was a tough, yet necessary decision. A decision guided by the advice of professional health workers, ministry professionals throughout East Tennessee, and local data. Adult and youth leadership will continue to meet to evaluate the next steps, as well as the timeline for in-person gatherings.
We know there will be grief in not being able to gather with one another. I encourage you to sit with that grief, remembering that The Holy Spirit works its way through these events to uplift everyone who participates, and they carry that love into the world. It will be a hard year, no doubt, but we are still called to carry the love of The Holy Spirit out into the world.
We must also look for new opportunities to support one another and continue to spread the love of Christ in this season. We are still the Church. We will strive to continue to do God’s work in a new and creative way.
This fall will be different and so we must approach it differently. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay connected. Reach out to one another, your youth leaders, and your clergy.
Let us use this time to begin to wonder what could be offered that has never been thought of before. Who can be invited that may not have had the opportunity to participate before? Take this time to discern what God may be calling you to.
Remember to take care of yourself and one another, wear a mask, show grace, be encouraged, and continue to love like Jesus.
Diocesan Youth Coordinator
Diocese of East Tennessee
If you have questions, please reach out to Jody Davis, Jdavis@dioet.org.
September 17th: Compline w/ETNyouth
September 27th: Happening 4th Day
October 1st: Compline w/ETNyouth
October 15th: Compline w/ETNyouth
October 18th: Middle School Virtual Offering
October 29th: Compline w/ETNyouth
November 8th: High School Virtual Offering
November 19th: Compline w/ETNyouth
December 3rd: Compline w/ETNyouth
December 17th: Compline w/ETNyouth