Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
Today we have five of the six founding members of YAE spelled, “Y A E” Young Adult Episcopalians, in the South Central Region. The group launched in fall 2017 and has held several events for young adults in the New Haven area and larger South Central Region.
The Rev. Elise Hanley is the Assistant Rector at Trinity Church on the Green in New Havenand an Assisting Priest at the Episcopal Church at Yale. She has been ordained for two years, and is originally from New York.
The Rev. Paul Carling is the Chaplain for the Episcopal Church at Yale,a position he has held for five years. Before Yale he served in a variety of parishes in Vermont and Connecticut and was a professor of Psychology for many years.
Mary Beth Mills-Curran is a candidate for ordination with the diocese of Massachusetts and is in her third year at Yale Divinity School and Berkeley Divinity School. She serves as the program director for the Episcopal Church at Yale.
The Rev. Rachel Field, a returning guest on our podcast, is the Region Missionary for the South Central Regionof ECCT. She has held this role for just over a year and a half, and is a key supporter of this collaborative ministry between various parishes and ministries in New Haven.
Alli Huggins, serves not only as our co-host for Coffee Hour at The Commons, but also the Digital Communications Associate for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.
The sixth member, who could not make it, is the Rev. Keri Aubert the priest-in-charge at St. Thomas Church in New Haven.
We met in the library and office of the Episcopal Church at Yale, and Alli wore headphones, so she sounds all subdued, slow, and smooth compared to the rest of us. Actually we’re getting new equipment soon, which will include headphones for everyone, so she’s practicing.
We began with how YAE began; the Episcopal Church at Yale was the spark behind it. Young adults at Yale (or Yale/Berkeley) have opportunities for formation and fellowship, but there wasn’t much for young adults in congregations. Mary Beth said she was part of a similar model in the Diocese of New York
They started in New Haven and have opened it up to other churches in the South Central reason; it claims an Episcopal identity but doesn’t want to be exclusive. It leans toward engagement beyond the divinity school but everyone is welcome. “Young adult” is considered 21-35.
ECY received a grant for their ministry to fund events, identifying young adults as a “mission field.” The grant supports food for fellowship events.
There’s no agenda for the future; the call has been to be present in the community; to gather and talk about what it means to be a Christian now, so people 21-35 can ask questions, or know they’re not alone.
Bruch is like the main thing that church conflicts with, said Mary Beth, adding that it’s an encapsulation of how a life of faith is in some ways swimming against the stream of what our culture calls us, encourages us, to do. The church calls us to be a different type of community, she said, then asked: What does that mean for my friends, and how I experience my life socially? Being a Christian and going to church will disrupt the pattern; ministries built on the “skeleton” of building fellowship first and foremost are the most important and allow the Christian life to be sustainable; not to be lonely, she said, and others agreed.
YAE can show people how to do that, to make space for young adults to have full lives in the church.
The group talked about a few of the events they’ve had so far; they try for one event a month.
We closed by hearing each of them share how this has impacted their own personal spiritual life, and their insightful reflections on its importance and implications.
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