By Lydia Kelsey Bucklin
I was 15 years old when my life was changed by the Episcopal Youth Event. Coming from the small diocese of Northern Michigan, most churches were too small for youth groups, and even diocesan events were small and few in number. My dad was a priest in the diocese, and I was nervous about joining that community. EYE, however, sparked my interest. An opportunity to travel to another city and meet youth from all over the Episcopal Church sounded exciting. I felt like an outcast in high school, and struggled with depression and low self-esteem. I needed to get away, and I could not have entered a better community than the Episcopal Youth Event in Terre Haute, Indiana. There, on the campus of Indiana State University, I felt accepted for who I was. I interacted not just with other teenagers, but with adults who were genuinely interested in me and were glad I was there.
Sixteen years later, I have a vocation in the Episcopal Church, serving as the Missioner for Children and Youth and on the Communications team in the Diocese of Iowa. I am pursuing a Masters in Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School. I also serve on the Standing Commission on Lifelong Christian Formation and Education. It may seem like an exaggeration to say that I would not be who I am today if I had never attended EYE, but it was definitely a transformative event in my faith journey.
As a youth, I returned from EYE committed to finding my place in the church. I became a camp counselor and got more involved in diocesan events. I became an advocate for social justice at a young age and pursued a career in social work. I know many others, too, who, because of the ways the Episcopal Church impacted them at a young age, have had their lives changed. For this reason I feel the need to speak up. Read more…