Youth Across Europe Weekend: A Field Journal

Youth Across Europe (YAE)
Youth ages 14-19
5 days. 31 pilgrims. 2 countries. 20 some miles.

"You may not think that walking over 20 miles together would turn you into a family but it did for us. We started at Canterbury cathedral, heard about the pilgrims who came before us, and were sent off with a blessing. We learned that pilgrimage involves a bit of sacrifice. Through blisters, heavy packs, no showers (yes, 31 people and no showers), and sunburns we came closer to God and each other. There were times when we thought we couldn't take another step but our family encouraged to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We finished our time together with a Eucharist and a party. It may have just been 5 days but our shared experience brought us together."


Juniors Across Europe

Youth Ages 10-13

"The juniors spent the weekend following in the footsteps of Jonah, learning about our God of second chances. We toured Paris, emulating the Bible story. We visited the depths of the sewers to get an idea of what it was like for Jonah in the belly of the whale. Our God moment was on the top of L'arc de Triomphe. This wasn't just a theoretical retreat. All of our 38 participants spent the weekend practicing forgiveness. The culmination of this was when we were lead through a guided meditation in which we were supposed to choose someone from our lives that we wanted to forgive. Through this exercise some were able to forgive but some still needed more time. Thank you to everyone who helped make this weekend possible! We couldn't have done it without you!"


20s and Alumni Retreat

""Solvitur ambulando" - It is solved in walking. These were the first words Canon Mary gave us on our youth leader alumni and 20s retreat. And so, off we went on our urban, Parisian pilgrimage.
Inspired by daily devotion and meditation we set out to discover some of the sacred jewels the great city of light has to offer.
We shared communion together in the Esplanade des Invalides in the shadow of the dome of the Chapelle des Invalides before walking over to Ile de la Cité to delight in the splendour of the spectacular Sainte Chapelle. Walking together gave us the opportunity to talk together, get to know each other better and discuss where God was leading each one of us in our lives.
Other highlights included fellowship at the Great Mosque in Paris and grazing on falafel in the Jewish quarter.
We came back to the American Cathedral to write the prayers of the people together, as the new band of friends that we had become.
This was a retreat that brought us together, to deepen our faith and friendship.
Special thanks go out to Mary and Jane who worked so hard to make this an experience to remember and one that we could all take home and share in our home churches."