Monday, January 13, 2014

What is an Episcopalian? Ben's story

Interested in learning more about the Episcopal Church or the foundations of the Christian faith? Join The Revs Laurel and Colin Mathewson on a 12-week exploration of Anglican Christian tradition on Wednesday nights starting January 15 at 6-8 pm in the Guild Room. 

The course is free, a light supper will be served ($5 donation), and child care is available upon request. ALL ARE WELCOME!  Register online at   Questions? Contact Colin at, or 619-977-8173.
 In the testimony below, high school student Ben Hulbert describes the welcome he felt as a youth member of the class.

What is an Episcopalian?  is a great class. After hearing what a brilliant and enlightening experience my family had when they attended it when my brother was confirmed, I decided to at least make a solid attempt at attending the What Is An Episcopalian? classes, since I wanted to get confirmed. What I found was a truly unforgettable experience.

Confirmation for youth means attending the class and studying at home. A year prior, I had seen what my brother Gabe had done at home with my parents as a youth at the cathedral preparing for confirmation. I would watch from the staircase or ignore them, as I was busy with school. However, a small part of me wanted to participate in the prayer, contribute my own words to the discussion that, as least from what I saw, was more educational and fascinating than the schoolwork I was dreading to start.

I came into the St Paul’s community after years of attending Catholic school and church, which had left me feeling somewhat hostile towards religion.  Plus, attending a class  on a weeknight that wasn’t within the confines of school hours did not appeal to me in the least. Yet going to church and having only a slight clue about what the clergy were speaking about was also an emotion I did not wish to possess. As a result, my feeling of curiosity overtook my feeling of resentment and decided to attend the class.

In the environment of the What is an Episcopalian? class, no one judges. So long as you love God, accept Him into your heart, and are respectful of the people you sit next to, no one will reject your presence, criticize your beliefs or ostracize you as an outsider.

As accepting as they were, I am a person who prefers more one-on-one contact when learning something new. To compromise, after about half of each class, Christine D’Amico, the youth minister at St. Paul’s, educated me on all the lessons and history that was being discussed in the room right down the stairs. We reviewed the exact same text as the adults did, but in a more personal setting.

During one of the classes, the clergy ran a mock service where all the attendees were able experience first hand what being on the altar is like. This occasion inspired me to become a thurifer, the handler of incense. I trained in the summer to become a thurifer and I enjoy it now.

Retreating to the upstairs room for private secession with Christine did not stop me from enjoying the great food for only $5 that is part of the What is an Episcopalian? class—and yes, you could come back for seconds.

During the class I was inspired to get more involved in the Diocesan Youth program, as well as our own Youth program. I attended the Diocesan convention and a youth retreat for a weekend. I am excited to go to the Episcopal Youth Event in Philadelphia this summer.

What is an Episcopalian? is a great class I would recommend for youth and adults alike.

-Ben Hulbert

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