EYE (pronounced E-Y-E) stands for Episcopal Youth Event. It is a gathering of youth ages 15-19 from around the world who assemble on a college campus to learn, laugh, and worship together. It is the single greatest and second largest event the Episcopal Church does. Since this event is held only once every three years, for many #EYE23 will be their only chance to attend.
2023’s theme is: Regreso A Casa: A New Age of Faith. This bilingual theme emphasizes a kind of “homecoming”.
The culture of EYE is like summer camp…a really, really big summer camp! Until you have seen it first-hand, the sight of over a thousand young people and adult leaders in one place is unimaginable. The enthusiasm of the young people in attendance is infectious, equaled only by the compelling commitment to their faith, showing the vitality of The Episcopal Church both now and in the future.
With close to 1,500 people in attendance (including youth, their adult mentors, clergy, and bishops from around the church), EYE programs focus on helping develop leadership skills, spiritual practices, and early stages of vocational discernment. Time is spent in worship (amazing, awesome, and authentic worship), large group presentations (from entertaining, educated, engaging folks), small group discussions, workshops on a variety of topics (Participants select the workshops they wish to attend.), and time to hang-out and meet Episcopalians from around the world. Youth will get to know people who share their Episcopal faith in all of its diversity. They may even learn some new things, grow and change as they broaden their experience and watch God move in others (and in themself). And they’ll be able to sleep in a college dorm and experience college cafeteria food (ok, maybe not always a selling point, but still an experience!).
Youth will come away from EYE with more than memories, although those will last a lifetime. Youth will make new friends and through them and the gathered community will gain a greater understanding of their personal connection to something much bigger. Participants will be asked some tough questions about diversity, inclusion, and how to live into the Baptismal Covenant each day. Youth will also be exposed to creative music, programs, and activities showing the wide and diverse landscape of people who make up The Episcopal Church. Discovering that differences in music, worship style, or beliefs are not dividers, but rather unifiers in Christ.
Specific details about who the speakers will be and what workshops will be offered are not available…yet! EYE is currently being planned by a diverse team of youth from across the church to address the needs, interests, and realities of today’s young people.
For some teenagers, EYE will change their lives and their church engagement forever. For some, it will just be a great summer trip. Either way, not every teenager is ready for group travel and an event the magnitude of EYE. Teenagers who are struggling with high anxiety and/or depression may find themselves under greater stress with travel and large scale interactions with unfamiliar people in unfamiliar places. Please prayerfully discern with youth, youth leaders, parents, and families so all participants have the best chance for a positive experience.
EYE has amazing preachers, speakers, and workshop leaders, but the one thing that really makes it so special is the youth who attend. We hope you’ll join us in July 2023 for the return of this incredible event!