Episcopal News Service Thursday, September 21, 2006
Office of Black Ministries launches Network of Black Episcopal Young Adults
By Daphne Mack
[ENS] Addressing the shortage of African American young adults actively participating in ministries in the Episcopal Church, the church's Office of Black Ministries recently convened 20 young adults representing 10 dioceses and five provinces in San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 31-September 3 for the first S.O.U.L.-Spiritual Opportunity to Unite and Learn-conference dedicated to young adults.
The S.O.U.L. Conference is an annual event designed to develop young leaders from the black community for ministry in the wider church. It alternates yearly with the focus being on young adults aged 18-35 years and high school students.
This year, under the theme "Real World Mission...Getting around, getting along and getting ahead," 13 females and seven males aged 18-35 years old met and engaged in an intense training aimed at commissioning them for ministry through the newly formed Network of Black Episcopal Young Adults (NBEYA).
"Throughout the church, this age group is minimal at best, and in some instances non-existent," said the Rev. Angela Ifill, missioner for Black Ministries across the Episcopal Church. "Our hope is to work with congregations and dioceses to develop a larger cadre of young adults from the black communities for a wider ministry in the Episcopal Church."
During the three-day gathering, participants engaged in discussions on topics for leadership that included dynamics for effective communication, presentation skills, vocations, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), leadership skills, group dynamics, conflict management, vocations, event planning, the church, and expectations of the new Presiding Bishop.
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