What is Christophany?
The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem’s youth and young adult ministries support a variety of events meant to help foster the spiritual formation of Christians ages 12-30. Christophany is a three-day retreat in the mountains whose purpose is to bring youth in grades 6-12 closer to Christ. The word Christophany is derived from “theophany” which is an ancient Greek word meaning “appearance of God”. Just like Moses in the desert and Jesus at the Transfiguration, we believe that a physical place away from the rest of our lives allows for a unique opportunity to be open to the possibility of being transformed by the appearance of Christ. Each year we gather in the mountains to experience: the beauty of creation; the company of our peers; quiet moments in the woods; songs around the campfire; games inside and out; worship among the trees; and be open to the Holy Spirit. Another focus of our time together is service to others. Every year the youth council and youth missioner choose a focus for outreach and ministry in the world. Hope to see you on the mountain!
What is Happening?
Happening is a retreat for youth by youth in grades 9 to 12 with the support of adult leadership, both lay and clergy. According to one past attendee, Happening is a “crazy-fun weekend full of adventure and surprises!” The mission of Happening is to enliven the Church by being open to the power of the Holy Spirit so that the youth members of the Church can take the word to the world. To accomplish this goal, the weekend provides an opportunity for youth to come closer to Jesus in a deep, personal way and to begin to learn what it means to be an apostle.
What is Vocare?
(As described by staff leader)
Vocare is the Latin word meaning "to call." We are often told that God has a call, or vocation for each of us, but we are often unsure about that call. This weekend retreat helps us to identity and more clearly understand our callings. In a relaxed and inviting atmosphere, we discuss and discern our callings. The weekend centers around 12 talks, each designed to help the participants and staff understand a specific calling, such as marriage or singlehood, more fully. Since many of us in the 18-30 year old age bracket are experiencing transitions and confusion, the weekend is designed to help us place God at the center of our lives, and to more fully know and embrace God's callings for us. As the lay rector for this Vocare, I have decided to focus on transition because I am in a period of transition myself. I will graduate college the weekend before the retreat, and later in the summer I will be getting married and moving to Providence, RI, for graduate school. Each of these events could be met with apprehension, but through my experiences with Vocare, I have matured in my understanding and knowledge. Such understanding is allowing me to move forward with confidence. As a staff leader for Vocare, my goal is for each participant and staff member to leave the weekend feeling empowered to embrace his or her callings from God.