The New York State Deanery Family & Youth Retreat welcomed Bishop Michael as over 110 people participated in the three-day event, 7-9 February 2014 at Greek Peak Resort in Cortland NY. The main theme challenged all participants, young and old, to compare and contrast the Kingdom of God with the kingdom of this world, and our place as being "in the world but not of the world," especially as it relates to peer-pressure and temptations. The atmosphere was one of trust, mutual acceptance, and love by time spent in conscious awareness that the Lord is present in all that is happening.
His Grace hosted a dinner for deanery clergy families and diocesan Diaconate Formation students prior to an opening reception and fellowship for all participants on Friday evening.
During the three days, youth discussed and shared their struggles, issues, hopes, fears, and joys while listening to talks by clergy and peers. During "fireplace chats with the Bishop" many contemporary issues, as well as questions of ministry outreach, were discussed in depth. A special moment was Bishop Michael's personal reflection on 42 years of priestly ministry!
Bishop Michael reiterated that world in which we live is growing more and more complex. Imagine how teenagers and young adults feel! Temptations abound in music, movies, drugs, alcohol, sex, fashion, and just about everywhere. It’s no wonder that our youth, and all of us, swim in a sea of confusion desperately seeking an answer to “the meaning and purpose of life."
As the Church, we have a duty to remind our youth ... in words and deeds ... of their important place at Christ’s table and to nurture, protect, and educate them by every means possible, so they will remain faithful and nurtured within the Body of Christ.
A full cycle of liturgical services lead by Bishop Michael were supported and celebrated by clergy and laity participants. All present expressed their gratitude to His Grace for finding time in his extremely busy schedule to spend three inspiring days with the youth and adults of the deanery.