High school youth are invited to attend Exploring Your Call (EYC) at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., this summer, June 15-25, 2012. This event provides the opportunity for young people entering their junior or senior year of high school in fall 2012 to explore faith and vocation through classes, congregational involvement, service projects, personal and spiritual enrichment, and recreation.
Russell Haitch, associate professor of Christian education and
director of the Institute for Youth and Young Adults at Bethany,
oversees EYC. “It’s an intense but beautiful program. Last year, youth
studied theology in the classroom, then shadowed pastors and did
real-life ministry, then took a trip to Chicago to live in an
intentional community and learn about all sorts of non-pastoral
vocations. The level of conversation and quality of friendship that
developed was really splendid, and I’m excited that equally good things
will happen this year.”
Through continued generous funding from Barnabas Ltd., participants
can attend EYC at no cost except for travel to and from Richmond, Ind.
Located in New South Wales, Australia, this family foundation was begun
by the parents of current Bethany trustee Jerry Davis and focuses
primarily on projects that help prepare people for ministry. “Although
the program is free,” says Haitch, “it could cost you a whole change of
direction in life.”
First held from 2001-2005, EYC was revived in summer 2011 with an
“intellectually alert, emotionally alive, and spiritually courageous”
group of youth, according to Haitch. “Unprompted by us, they started
sharing about transformational experiences of God in their lives--and
every day it kept getting better.” Participant Stephen Dowdy from Stone
Church of the Brethren in Huntington, Pa., said, “EYC helped me to
better understand how my actions are a part of my ministry. I came to
realize that my church life and my ‘normal’ life should not be separate
parts, but a whole experience with a concentration in community.”
Participants have also shared that EYC sparked their interest in
doing advanced biblical and theological work in a seminary environment,
gave them a lively introduction to the work of pastoral ministry, and
enabled them to meet peers who were serious about their Christian faith.
Many continue to stay in contact with each other. Former participant
Dylan Haro is now a middler student at Bethany and served as a student
organizer and leader for EYC 2011. “It was during my participation in
Exploring Your Call that I first considered ministry as my vocation. I
am excited for high school students today who have the same opportunity
to experience this unique and enriching program.... It is programs and
people like these that ignite my hope for the future of the church.”
More information and an online application for Exploring Your Call can be found at www.bethanyseminary.edu/eyc or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-287-8822.
-- Jenny Williams is director of communications and alumni/ae relations at Bethany Seminary.