Episcopal teens ages 16 to 19 are invited to apply to become part of the 81st General Convention’s Official Youth Presence, a group whose members have seat and voice in the House of Deputies and can testify at hearings before and during the summer 2024 convention. The deadline to apply is Nov. 17.
Up to two youth from each of the church’s nine provinces will be selected to participate in the Official Youth Presence from June 20-28, 2024, in Louisville, Kentucky. Youth who are selected must also attend orientation and training in Louisville from Feb. 16-19. The Episcopal Church budget covers travel, lodging, and meals for those attending orientation and General Convention.
“I am delighted to invite young Episcopalians to apply for the Official Youth Presence,” said House of Deputies President Julia Ayala Harris. “The voices, experiences, and viewpoints of our young people are invaluable as we seek to discern God’s calling for our church. Through the Official Youth Presence, we create opportunities for our youth to engage actively with legislative committees, learn about the governance and polity of The Episcopal Church, and build relationships across the church.”
The Episcopal Church Office for Youth Ministries is coordinating the application and discernment process in collaboration with the General Convention Office and the president of the House of Deputies.
“We are thrilled to offer youth the opportunity to discern their call to serve The Episcopal Church in this particular way, building on their passion for the Gospel and desire to lead in a church that celebrates their wisdom and love of Jesus,” said Canon Myra Garnes, officer for Youth Ministries. “Alumni members of General Convention Official Youth Presence have moved into leadership as laity and clergy in many dioceses.”
The General Convention, which normally meets every three years, is The Episcopal Church’s governing body. It comprises the House of Deputies, with nearly 900 clergy and lay deputies elected from the church’s 108 dioceses and two area missions, and the House of Bishops—with around 140 active and retired bishops.
“For many General Conventions, we have found that members of the Official Youth Presence are young prophets in our midst and vital members of the House of Deputies,” Ayala Harris said. “I encourage interested youth to apply and look forward to welcoming the Official Youth Presence participants to the 81st General Convention.”