Mark Yaconelli will be leading a one day workshop/retreat entitled From Anxiety to Love: A Contemplative Approach (based on his book Contemplative Youth Ministry) at Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California on Saturday, March 17. The Youth Ministry Symposium is open to youth workers, parents, pastors– anyone who cares for the spiritual lives of young people. There are scholarships available to Episcopal youth workers and pastors–including funds for travel! Go here for more information.
My wife and I went on our first Mexico house-building trip with Amor Ministries as college students in 1985. The trip opened my eyes to the suffering of families who live on the Mexican side of the California/Mexico border. Many of these families have traveled north not only to find better opportunities for their families, but also to escape oppressive and violent governments within their home countries ( Guatemala, Honduras. El Salvador). On that first trip my wife and I made friends with Victoria, a woman in her mid-sixties who was raising her grand-kids in a chicken-wire, cardboard, and blue tarp shack while her daughter and son-in-law picked strawberries in California. That trip taught me about the economic and global injustice of our present world, as well as the beauty, creativity, and resiliency of Mexican and Central American people. Mostly, I remember feeling the similarities between the families I met in shanty towns along the Mexican border. These were families with parents who loved their children just as much as families in the U.S., families who were seeking a better life for their children, just like any family would in the U.S.
I am so ashamed of the anger, resentment, and vitriol directed toward immigrants seeking a better life in America just as my immigrant Italian and Scottish ancestors did. Particularly, when this latest surge of immigrants involves high numbers of children.
This coming January, Amor is hosting it’s first Global Gathering for college-age young people who are seeking to begin working to create a different world. Young people will gather from across the United States, Mexico, and the United Kingdom to not only talk about a new world, but actually begin building. I hope you can join us. The motto for this event is: “Bringing Young People Together to Disrupt The World.” I have the opportunity to lead contemplative prayer at morning and evening gatherings. To learn more go here.
I have a variety of events in the U.K. May 10-15. I hope my U.K. friends will join me at one of the following events:
I’ll present at the Transforming Youth Ministry Conference in Birmingham (maybe the most diverse city in the U.K.) on Saturday, May 10 sponsored by The Church of England (thank you Helen Tomblin for all your work on this).
On Sunday May 11th, I’ll lead a retreat on Radical Compassion in Preston (way up in the north of England), sponsored by Greenbelt. The retreat will include music led by North Carolina musician and activist David Lamotte. My good friend Andy Pratt is the organizer you can contact Andy to register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, May 12th I’ll lead a day-long workshop on “Sustaining your Spirituality for the Long Haul,” at St. John’s College in Nottingham.You can get registration information here. Thank you Sally Nash for your work on this event.
Tuesday May 13-15th I’ll be at the National Diocesan Youth Officers Conference for the Church of England in Lytham (outside of Manchester). Thank you Susie Mapledoram, Mark Montgomery, and Helen Tomblin.
I hope to see many of my U.K. friends during my visit.
Another sign that young people need a chance to breathe, feel, come home to themselves…particularly within a world in which we are continually tethered to the “distracting present.” Check out this article (sent to me by old youth ministry buddy Randy Kuss) on the use of meditation and quiet in a troubled and violent school district here. Of course, kids in untroubled neighborhoods need this just as much….
After months of work and prodding from the prayerful and persistent “tough guy” Helen Tomblin, I’ve booked a number of events in and around Birmingham, U.K. for May of 2014. The exact schedule is still being worked out, but at this point I’ll be leading events at the Birmingham Diocese Youth Ministry Conference May 10th, then up to Preston to preach and lead a workshop on “The Way of Radical Compassion: Practicing the Spiritual Path of Jesus,” May 11-12th. I’ll be speaking and leading workshops at the National Diocesan Youth Officers Conference in Blackpool May 13-15. Hope to see many of my U.K. friends.
Youth Specialties is offering a free download of a keynote talk I gave last fall. You can get this talk here.
If you want to experience a new sense of God, a new sense of self, a new understanding and deeper inspiration for your own calling register for one of the last five spots in Becoming a Spiritual Guide. The program is limited to 16 people. There is an opening and closing retreat. I work one-on-one with each person over three months with weekly spiritual practices.You can look at the program here or email me with questions at email@example.com.