The following is my lead-in to the sermon preached by Sophie Fosmire, a member of our youth who attended EYE17 as a delegate.
The Episcopal Church loves it meetings. We have all sorts of local meetings of various committees and we have our vestry meetings, the vestry being the governing body of St. Matthew’s. On the Diocesan level, we have even more meetings. Commission on Ministry, Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, etc. Then there is what we call the National Church, our Presiding Bishop is the head. The National Church also has meetings, with the grand Episcopal Church meeting being the General Convention, which is held every three years. The last one was held in Salt Lake City in 2015.
There were 898 delegates and all the bishops. They heard reports from 22 legislative committees, held 50 elections – including the election of Michael Curry as the Presiding Bishop – passed a substantial budget and considered almost 400 pieces of legislation. Some of that legislation was important, some not so much. That is the way of most conventions; however, at the 1982 convention (New Orleans) they passed a great piece of legislation: Resolution Number D079 – “Support an International Youth Ministry Event.” The full text reads: “Resolved, That this 67th General Convention direct the Executive Council through its Committee on Education for Mission and Ministry to support an international youth ministry event at least every three years at a place and date to be determined, so that the energy of the youth of the Episcopal Church can continue to be utilized in active ministry as members of this part of the Body of Christ; and be it further resolved, That the Dioceses of this Church be encouraged to support and fund their delegates to said event.”
The Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) is the outcome of this resolution, which is a triennial gathering of high school youth. It is an event that celebrates the diversity of the Episcopal Church and invites participants to build deeper relationships with Jesus and with other Episcopalians. The event includes worship, speakers, workshops, concerts, recreation, and other activities.
Each of the 109 Diocese of the Episcopal Church are allowed to send 24 delegates. All youth who are interested make application and answer questions like, “What do you hope to get out of the EYE experience?”, “Why should you be selected as a member of the delegation?” and “How will you share your experience with others?” Not an easy process.
This year EYE17 was held at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. So on July 11th almost 1,000 youth, 38 Bishops, and hundreds of volunteers participated in this great event of the Episcopal Church. One of those 1,000 youth was Sophie Fosmire. When she answered that question, “How will you share your experience with others?,” I can’t imagine she responded by saying, “I want to get up on a Sunday morning and preach,” but when I asked her to, I didn’t have to persuade her or promise to buy her a new iPhone if she agreed, she said, “Sure. I can do that.”