In keeping with the knowledge that the future of our church, St. Philip’s In The Hills, as well as the larger church community everywhere is in the hands of those youth coming into their majority, the Diocese of Arizona initiated an apprenticeship program a year ago. This program, funded by a grant received by the Diocese, matches young persons called to a vocation in youth ministry with parishes seeking to grow their youth ministry programs. This provides to the parish a full-time Youth Minister, who is concurrently developing tools for ministry via training, mentoring, and networking from the Canon for Youth and Young Adult Ministries, the Rev. Matt Marino. Funding over the 5 years of the program is shared between the Diocese and the parish, on a sliding scale, with the program paying most of the costs in the first 2 years (the training period) and the parish taking on more financial responsibility in the following years until the position is fully funded by the parish.
You need spend only a few minutes with Sara Talley, our Diocesan Youth Ministry Apprentice, to know that our youth — Rite 13, J2A, and SPY — are being well served. When we spoke during her first days on the job, she was creating a calendar for the year. For those of us past our teen years, it’s probably difficult to appreciate the time demands placed on young people today: school studies, a multitude of extracurricular school activities, jobs, plus family and community activities and responsibilities.
How do you insert church into this mix? One way, which Sara committed to, is to be “hands on” in the lives of our young congregants. Although it will take time, Sara plans to visit each Rite 13, J2A, and SPY family in their homes, getting to know them and their families. In addition, there will be attendance at school and community events where the youth are participating. (Don’t be surprised if you don’t find Sara at her desk at St. Philip’s. She anticipates that much of her work will be “in the field.”) All this in addition to Sunday morning youth group meetings, afternoon and evening activities with the youth, and coordinating with the Episcopal Campus Ministry at the University of Arizona “Canterbury Club” for those students planning on attending UA. And last, but not least, are Sara’s twice-monthly training meetings at the Diocesan offices in Phoenix.
What about that calendar? Knowing that not everyone will attend church each Sunday, the calendars will hopefully allow each youth to make plans to balance commitment to family, school, and church. There is no question that these are competing issues.
This is familiar territory for Sara. She comes to St. Philip’s from 3 years as Director of Youth Programs at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas, an historic church founded by Davy Crockett and built at the time of the Alamo.
Welcome, Sara, to Arizona, to Tucson, to St. Philip’s In The Hills.