On June 16 – 17, 19 youth members and 5 leaders from around the diocese gathered at St. James Santiago in Lincoln City to kick off summer at the second Hope & Fire Youth Event. Hope & Fire is a diocesan-led and sponsored event meant to bring youth together to build community, worship, and carve out time and space to serve, reflect, and discover.

The event started with a service filled with songs, prayers, readings, and an opportunity to reflect on the themes of changing seasons, hope, and fire. All were invited to discern these themes individually, then come together for a group discussion “about what is bringing us hope, what we are passionate about, and what we want to burn up,” said Jill Osburn, Missioner for Youth/Liturgical Assistant at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and one of the adult leaders.

After the service and group conversation, the youth gathered for a bonfire and s’mores. It was a time “to hang out, make some delicious treats—Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup S’mores anyone?—and just be kids before bed,” said Jill.

In the morning, the youth joined the St. James Santiago’s service and hospitably crew to serve breakfast at their weekly free meal, which is open to anyone in the community. “Our youth served up fresh hot plates of pancakes, eggs, and sausage, bussed tables, stocked the cereal bar, and provided general kitchen help,” said Jill.

The afternoon was spent cleaning up a section along the beach in Lincoln City and free time at the local community center.

After arriving home, a mom texted one of the youth leaders and said: “My son is 12 years old and has nothing positive to say about anything ever…he had fun and is smiling. Thank you!”

“In the chaotic and confusing times we are living, creating experiences, space, and safety for our youth is vital to caring for their and our futures,” said Jill. “We hope to continue these diocesan overnight events in order to continue to support and help our youth grow and develop into who they have been created to be. We look forward to keeping this community connected and growing.”

Thank you to the youth participants, parents, adult leaders, and St. James Santiago for hosting this summer’s Hope & Fire. The next diocesan youth event is scheduled for October 12-13 at St. Michael & All Angels / San Miguel y Todos los Ángeles, Portland. More information to come towards the end of the summer.