Bishop Daniel Leads Online Youth Gathering

More than 70 youth and young adults spent the evening in conversation with Bishop Daniel on April 5, gathering online for a “Monday Meditation.”

Participants from the Eastern Diocese’s summer camp programs, ACYOA Juniors, and ACYOA Seniors–representing 14 U.S. states and Canada–took to the Zoom conference platform for a 90-minute discussion with the Primate.

The meeting was organized by the Diocese’s Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, as part of its #StayHome and #StayConnected initiative, which aims to keep young people connected while they stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To open the evening, Bishop Daniel shared some of his own experiences during the pandemic: on the one hand, the isolated feeling so many others have while working from home, conducting business solely over the phone and Internet; on the other hand, the intense feeling of connection he receives from time spent in prayer for the wellbeing of our church and people.

Deep Questions

The conversation grew as participants of all ages offered heartfelt comments about their own recent experiences, and thought-provoking questions about their faith.

“How can I comfort my grandmother’s sister, who is in Armenia and all alone?” asked an eight-year-old girl.

“When you pray for someone’s recovery, does God always hear it and help?” was another deep question, with an even deeper follow-up: “And what if He doesn’t?”

Most questions dealt with the unique concerns that have affected church life in the wake of the pandemic.

  • “How can we prepare for Easter and be close to God when we can’t go to church
  • “How might our theology of liturgy and our concept of community change as a result of the pandemic?”
  • “How quickly could we get back to normal church activity after people can go out in public again?”

Some questions were more light-hearted. “What movies or TV shows have you been watching during these times?” asked one young person. Bishop Daniel replied by sharing some viewing ideas, but also asked participants to type their own recommendations in the chat room.

During the conversation, Bishop Daniel said that his favorite Holy Week service is the Khavaroom or “Darkness” service, orignally an all-night vigil in memory of the last, sleepless night of Jesus prior to his crucifixion.

Asked to recommend a Bible passage to remember during these troubling times, he offered Romans 8:38-39, in which St. Paul affirms: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The evening was an uplifting way for youth and young adults to join together in spirit, at the start of Holy Week.

The #StayHome and #StayConnected initiative will continue with other featured guests, hosts, and activities throughout the “social distancing” period. Click on the following links to find out about future events, and to view a flyer.

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