By Rachel Shows, staff writer
Young adults have come to General Convention to serve as volunteers, deputies, and representatives of Episcopal organizations. Generally, talking about “young adults,” can be a tricky thing. The Church often associates young adults with positions that are “less than” more important positions. However, the 2015 convention has more deputies under the age of 30 than any General Convention before it; signaling that young adults are quite literally being given seats at the table in the way we govern our Church.
And while young adults are more included now than ever, The Episcopal Church still has a ways to go in giving them voice. So, I asked some Episcopalians, aged 25-30, for their initial reactions to Bishop Curry’s election – and their hopes and concerns for the Church. What followed was filled with excitement and disagreement, hopefulness and anticipation about of the work ahead.
“It’s really exciting to see a piece of our Church’s history. I really looked at this from two different perspectives: First, I think [Bishop Curry’s election] is something our Church needs … The second perspective is that I am in discernment right now. If I make it all the way through and am ordained, this is the presiding bishop I’ll be serving under. I am ecstatic that I could one day be a part of this forward movement of our Church. I’m just really proud and excited to be an Episcopalian right now.”
“I think that the presiding bishop elect seems to have a very profound faith, but I remain unconvinced that his time in office will be dedicated to reconciling the great divide in the Episcopal Church caused by a lack of love and care between both camps and by leadership in the Church. I will remain prayerful that he will do just that. I pray as well that he would move us toward a more profound love for and discipleship in Jesus Christ and lead us toward the mission and ministry given us by Him.”
“When the news was announced on the floor of the [House of Deputies], I was in tears. I think this is a momentous occasion for the Church, and Michael Curry is the voice and witness that the world is hungry for and I cannot wait for his ministry in this capacity.”
“The issue of race relations and violence are coming to a very big head in our country, and I think not only the voice of the House of Bishops, but also Michael Curry leading that voice will be a radical and transformative change that we need, to come out of our silence, or shame, or judgment about this issue and really be honest and engage in hard questions and come together as the beloved community.”
“I think the challenge facing the church that is most pressing is the need to share the wonderful message that Jesus Christ has given us. We need to learn how to take what we have in each person in our churches and bring it out into the world and share it. Bishop Curry is one who can inspire that in those he preaches to and those he meets. And [my hope is] that the Spirit can lead us out into the world in a way that we desperately need to be part of. That’s my hope, that’s why I’m excited.”
As a young adult, I, too, am looking ahead to see the impact Bishop Curry makes as presiding bishop. I hope he works towards building and reconciling relationships with the wider Church, including within the Anglican Communion. It is important that we continue to grow in our faith by word and action. We are all connected as baptized members of this one Body, and my prayer is that we continue to unify that Body.
The young adult deputies plan to send a letter of support and congratulations to the presiding bishop elect. An excerpt reads:
“As we [deputies] come of age, through his preaching, public witness and leadership of the Church in North Carolina, Bishop Curry has made us proud to be Episcopalians. Already he has inspired a generation to go out and share the Gospel in the streets, at the grocery store, and in our tweets. We must be bold in sharing our message with the world because our peers are so desperate to hear it.”
Editor’s note: the photos in this article are not necessarily associated with the young adult quotes.