Anglican Youth Group (AYG) of St. George’s Church

“I’m bored!” If we listen closely to our youth, we are likely to hear this lament; and, surprisingly, it may be while they’re at the mall surrounded by every convenience, latest fad and form of entertainment under the sun – the last place you’d expect them to be bored. In spite of this, our youth continue to hunger for something to fill the void within themselves which our materialistic culture cannot supply. As they search for answers, they find a society awash in moral relativism dominated by the slogan “If it feels good, do it.” Sadly, what they find is the lives of their peers and baby boom elders shipwrecked on the shoals of this “philosophy” put into practice.

Thanks be to God, teens, in increasing numbers, see traditional, orthodox Christianity “as a fresh alternative to those values, an oasis of truth and stability in a world gone mad. While many of their elders criticize Church teaching as rigid or retrograde, these young adults love the Church’s time-honored teachings and [now] counter-cultural stands. To them, it is New Age spirituality – not orthodox Catholicism – that’s empty, boring, and yesterday’s news.”(1)

“They are committed to Eucharistic adoration and evangelization.”(2) In other words, our Catholic faith means there is more to being a Christian than “scripture memorization, making some friends in church and having a good time.” Such an approach to our youth interferes with their natural longing to love Christ with all their hearts, souls, and minds. It prohibits the Faith from having a direct bearing on moral and ethical decisions in life. God call each of us to love Him with our whole being. Our young people are getting the message – even if our elders are not.

To help mold youth to be Christ-like, St. George’s AYG is committed to nurturing the whole individual by offering a three part program: Worship and Adoration, Instruction, and Fellowship. The youth gather twice a month: once a month for instruction, the other time for fellowship. The group is guided by the Rector of the parish and the AYG Director and is supported by the parents.

The program, founded upon the Catholic faith in the Anglican tradition, offers our young people answers, both orthodox and understandable, to questions each of asks at one time or another:

* Who am I?
* Why am I here?
* Where am I going?
* What is my purpose?

1st: Worship, Adoration of God – “Worshiping God in the beauty of holiness.” Youth search for the mysterious, the otherworldly. They hunger to experience God. The beauty and timelessness of Catholic worship in the Anglican tradition is unmatched and if immersed, they open themselves to experience Him the way He left for us to do.

It is, of course, the Mass that is the great Sacrament, given to the faithful as often as possible, and is the very cornerstone of Christian worship. To help the young understand the richness and beauty of the Mass, instruction on the Mass is taught one Sunday, every other month. These lessons serve as a continuation of the Holy Confirmation instruction.

2nd: Instruction is based on a biblical world view using the curriculum offered by acclaimed evangelist Chuck Colson and prominent teen evangelist Ron Luce. Their recent joint release, titled their program, “Rewired” teaches a biblical world view through an “engaging, often humorous, and always relevant DVD curriculum.” It is of the same genre as C. S. Lewis’, Mere Christianity, which teaches the fundamentals of the Faith, but is geared to be engaging and tailored for youth.

In a recent George Barna scientific poll, only 6% of all teens believe in moral absolutes. Having a biblical world view will help our youth measure their actions by their faith. When they become tomorrow’s leaders, they’ll know how to apply God’s Truth in decisions in corporate boardrooms, in rearing families, and in society at large. If widely applied this approach will bring with it a renewal of Christian culture.

The “Rewired” curriculum consists of twelve, one hour lessons. These lessons encourage group participation.

3rd: Fellowship – Youth need to know they are not alone in what they believe. They receive support and encouragement from one another, as well as their adult mentors. This growing bond is cemented through social activities planned throughout the year. Not only do they gather to socialize, they come together to offer back to God and His Church through service projects within the Household of Faith and in their community at large. These are a few of the service and social activities:

+ Trinitide + Trinitide & Advent
Summer Church Camp Fall Parish Family Picnic
Summer Swim Party Get-Away trip to Mount Zion, Utah
Instructional Church Sleep-over Catholic Charities soup kitchen
Movie Night

+ Epiphanitide + Lent & Eastertide
Epiphany party Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper Get-Away trip to Flagstaff, AZ Instructional Church Sleep-over
Car-wash fund-raiser
Catholic Charities soup kitchen

(1) Colleen Carroll, Generation X and the Turn to Christian Orthodoxy, Zenit.org,
April, 2003