“Just Such a Time as This”: Diocesan Youth Celebrate at Episcopal Youth Event

Contributed by: Clare Gutwein, Co-Youth Coordinator

"For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”
Esther 4:14
Co-Youth Coordinators Joe Rodriguez (left) and Clare Gutwein (right) pose with the diocesan delegation to EYE 23

We were made for just such a time as this! From July 4 to July 8, a delegation from the Diocese of New Jersey participated in EYE 2023, the Episcopal Youth Event held in College Park, Maryland. Youth delegates Jordy Ubiera Reynoso, Sky Willems and Alli Williams, along with chaperones Clare Gutwein and Joe Rodriguez, spent the week worshiping, learning, and joining with other delegations from across the Episcopal Church to celebrate our Regreso a Casa: A New Age of Faith.

Each day delegations participated in a morning plenary and worship session, workshops and meet ups during the afternoon, and an evening worship service and social event. Interspersed throughout these were activities and opportunities to meet and connect with other participants, and build our relationships as a community of faith. Centering on the story of Esther, speakers and preachers delivered a message of empowerment to the youth present, emphasizing that we were made for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). These speakers came from a variety of backgrounds, both lay and ordained, and included the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Julia Ayala Harris, the president of the House of Deputies.

Although most of the delegates expressed some initial uncertainty about attending the event, once it began each of us felt engaged, empowered and excited about our faith. We were inspired by the worship, the music and the ideas that were shared, and are confident in the knowledge that youth are not the church of the future, but rather the church of right now! We are excited to bring that energy back to our diocese and each of the participants has committed to continuing their engagement with youth ministry. Look for more information about our experience and our plans for the year soon!

Presiding Bishop’s Sermon at EYE

EYE Plenary from House of Deputies President

Diocesan Youth Facebook Page

Scenes from EYE 2023