As I transition into my summer sabbath, I wanted to share some news with you all. At the end of August, I will be leaving my position as youth director at First Church. It has been an incredible blessing to be with you all for two years. As a third-year seminary student, I am required to spend a year in field education—a year-long internship in the student’s desired field. I’m in the process of being matched with a local faith-based organization that does work around restorative justice, community organizing/advocacy for alternatives to policing and incarceration, and direct service work with currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. This is most certainly a bittersweet ending. While I am excited for this new opportunity ahead, I will deeply miss working in this community.
When I first interviewed for this position, I was still living in New York City. Through phone calls, Skype meetings, and live-stream worship, I knew from nearly 3,000 miles away that this community was special and that I needed to be a part of it. I felt incredibly welcome before I even boarded a plane to California. Since then, I’ve been blessed by this place in more ways than I can count. Working with your youth has always been a deep joy—they are compassionate, intelligent, justice-oriented, inquisitive young people, and I experience God through them every week. It has been holy to witness the ways they have persevered through an incredibly challenging year with such maturity and grace. Plus they never fail to make me laugh, even on Zoom! Thank you parents for raising such wonderful young people!
I will be wrapping up most of my responsibilities by June 6 and will return in August to lead work camp. I’m so grateful for Carolyn Ash and the youth ministry mentor team (David Beausoleil, Rebecca Clayton, Carole Petiet, and Drew Sperling) who have not only faithfully dedicated so much of their time to our youth this year, but will be leading opportunities for youth to connect over the summer as we transition back to in-person life together. Youth are invited to kick off Pride Month by chalking the church sidewalk and putting up pride flags on June 2 at 6:00pm. Carolyn and the youth mentors will also be taking youth out for froyo/boba/ice cream after Lawn Church this summer (June 13, July 11, and August 8). If you have any ideas for summer gatherings or would be interested in hosting a youth event, Carolyn would love to hear them!
Thank you all for a wonderful school year despite our challenging situation. I’m looking forward to seeing you in person in August!