The Middle Group Summation Aron Dunlap Cori Phillips Frances Moodie Luke Sorensen Monica Roberts Philadelphia, PA Grand Rapids, MI Los Angeles, CA Reno, NV Houston, TX Our group found ourselves in the middle of being very active participants in the church and being inactive because of conflict within the church or busy schedules. All of us were very active participants at one point and some are currently more active than others. We all still love the Episcopal Church and want more opportunities as young adults to become involved again. "Being in a church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than sitting in a garage makes you a car." -Garrison Kellior Christ is in our minds and hearts. We do not have to be in a physical church building every Sunday, but we will be involved in our own ways. We may tend to want to be involved in activities that are more community-based instead of liturgy-based. For example: If we are meeting for coffee, we are still gathering with other young adults, forming our own Christian community even if we are not worshiping in the traditional sense. Many congregations don't understand this and look down on us when we do go because we have not been there every Sunday. It becomes very easy for us to leave because we feel like we are looked down upon and there is no community holding us there. What does it mean to be an Episcopalian? The general public does not know who we are and what we believe. Many in the church do no know either; they just go through the motions. We have to educate those already in the church of the history and traditions of the church before we can reach out to others and grow. We have to differentiate ourselves from Catholics & Protestants: What makes us different? We should stress our diversity, our openness and our acceptance. Finding Ourselves The church should not expect us to step from being a youth directly into being an adult. We are still trying to figure out who we are and what we want to do in life, let alone deciding who we will be in the church. And there is no fellowship of others in the same situation. We Need Options The traditional church services are vital but at the same time you have to know the community that you are serving. If the 'high holy" service has not brought certain young people into the church in the last 20 years, it is not going to draw them in now. We think Christian rap/hip-hop is cheesy but there are other options in contemporary styles that should be explored. A more upbeat Jazz service is an example. The individual churches should adapt to the communities that they are in. Don't dumb it down but give people who have not been to the church another option to choose from. Remember to Lead by Example Don't be preachy to us because it tends to make us defensive and many times it's not what we want to hear. Sometimes we share spiritual things and people don't realize it: take the time to cook a meal for someone or smile and say hi. Little things count. You may not see the results, but you may have planted a seed. Follow Through We know that every community is different, so it is difficult for the church to make one blanket statement concerning all churches or dioceses. Let it be known that the national church has made involving young adults a priority. It should trickle down to the diocese level and then local churches. But there has to be follow up on the progress of programs, activities, etc. If there is no accountability, there will be no progress.