Happening & El Camino
is a Christian experience presented by teenagers, for teenagers (with the help of clergy and lay adult leaders). The Happening program is meant to be one of the instruments within the Anglican Tradition of renewing the Christian church in the power of the Holy Spirit, so that the church may more readily respond to its call to spread the Kingdom of God throughout the world. It seeks to achieve this purpose by bringing young persons and adults to fuller personal knowledge of and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and to a deeper level of commitment and apostleship.
Throughout the weekend, a series of talks are delivered by youth and clergy to logically present the elements that define the catechism process and a mature profession of faith. Each talk is a critical building block in the creation of the Happening message. The entire series of talks is given in a sequence that is intended to guide Happeners by opening an avenue of discussions to help them verbalize and internalize their faith questions in a safe environment, hopefully leading to a new or renewed relationship with Christ.
Upcoming Happening Weekend
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who should attend Happening?
High schoolers in grades 10-12* who are prepared to explore their faith more deeply alongside their peers. It is recommended that Candidates have the support of their clergy, a sponsor, their parent(s) or guardian(s), and their youth minister, if applicable.
The Happening program consists of a series of peer-led "talks" on various subjects that relate to the Christian life. Young people seeking a spiritually-connected community would benefit greatly from Happening.
*(SPRING WEEKEND ONLY) Ninth graders interested in registering as Candidates MUST submit a letter from their youth minister or priest to the weekend leadership attesting their readiness. (e.g. Lay Rector, Big Sibling).
What does a "Sponsor" do?
The sponsor helps to coordinate the entire process of their Candidate's attendance at Happening. Sponsor responsibilities include: helping with the Candidate's transportation arrangements to and from the Bishop Gravatt Center, communicating with the Candidate's parents, priest, and other persons about writing Caritas and attending the closing liturgy on Sunday afternoon, and continual prayers for the Candidates and staff. Sponsorship of a candidate is not just a signature on a line, but a serious commitment; the sponsor is pledging to support the spiritual growth of their candidate. Sponsors can be adults or youth.
Are scholarships available?
Yes, there is a Happening scholarship fund. We ask that you first attempt to get funding through your family and/or local church. Your priest is the best place to start when seeking local funding. Once you have exhausted these sources and you still need money to meet the registration cost, contact the Canon for Christian Formation to arrange for scholarship assistance. As with all youth events in the diocese the basic policy for scholarship assistance is that the person or their family contributes 1/3, their congregation contributes 1/3, and the diocese also 1/3. Other arrangements are possible as no person should be kept from attending youth programs due to financial difficulties.
I've already attended Happening. Can I be a Candidate again?
No; The Happening Experience is meant to foster an environment of fellowship and faith exploration for first-time attendees (aka Candidates). Once you've participated as a Candidate, there are numerous ways to stay involved and continue your faith journey, whether through sponsoring a Candidate, writing Caritas, praying for Candidates before, during, and after the weekend, or representing the larger Happening family by attending the closing.
Another way to engage with the Happening weekend is serving on Weekend Staff (staff roles include Gofors, Small Group Leaders, Musicians, El Camino (formerly “GIC”), Moms/Dads (adults only), and Spiritual Directors (clergy only). The purpose of Happening Staff is to serve the Candidates and create a safe, loving, welcoming environment to have an open and transformative weekend experience. The following are descriptions of each staff role involved in the Happening Weekend experience. The Lay Rector and Big Brother/Big Sister, along with the Observing Lay Rector and Observing Big Brother/Sister, decide selection for Weekend Staff with the assistance of the Happening Steering Committee.
Gofors assist the Rector in managing the flow of the weekend experience. As the name implies, they "go for" needed materials and do so cheerfully.
- Consider if: you have a knack for project management and organization, you enjoy practical tasks, you take direction well and can complete assignments efficiently.
Small Group Leaders guide the Candidates through the experience more directly by providing helpful insight and pastoral care to the members of their groups.
- Consider if: you enjoy relationship building, if you’re curious and ask thought-provoking questions, you feel comfortable receiving the difficult experiences group members may share.
Musicians provide a contemplative and enriching space for worship by sharing their musical talents. They work together with varying levels of musical experience to "create a joyful noise."
- Consider if: you play a musical instrument, you understand how music can influence the mood of an experience, you enjoy standing in front of a group performing.
Moms and Dads are adult volunteers who offer another layer of pastoral comfort to Candidates and Staff alike. They assist Gofors with acquiring materials, setting up activities, and much more!
Spiritual Directors are clergy persons selected by the rector to offer theological framing to the weekend. Spiritual Directors give a number of talks and assist in various worship capacities.
What are the criteria for Happening Staff?
We recognize the importance of raising youth leaders with varying levels of experience and seek to give mindful consideration to individuals who:
- have completed the online application by the application deadline
- offer specific gifts, talents, or skills needed for Weekend Staff (i.e. musicians)
- strive to practice spiritual discipline and develop a life-giving relationship with God
- are engaged in the life of their faith community
- have not yet served on Weekend Staff, have not served recently, or have served less than two Happening weekends
Adult staff applicants must be at least 22 years of age, actively participate in a faith community, be current on their Safe Church certification (within the last 3 years), and agree to a background check.
What is "El Camino"?
El Camino (formerly known as Growth in Christ, or “GIC”) is a program that takes place on the Saturday and Sunday concurrent with the Happening weekend. The purpose of El Camino is to provide a fun, laid-back space for members of the Happening community to support the ongoing Happening weekend while also deepening their understanding of the tenets of the Happening experience, which are ultimately the building blocks for a mature spiritual life. Participants can expect to revisit Happening themes through a series of three programs: Me; Me and God; Me, God, and the World. El Camino is led by the most recent rector when possible, otherwise leaders will be identified by the current Lay Rector and Steering Committee.
In 2019, the Happening Steering Committee engaged in a process to reinvent GIC in the hopes of a developing a more formational and engaging program. The decision to change the name to El Camino, which translates to "the way" in Spanish, is rooted in a desire to more clearly communicate what the intention of the program is to the wider Happening community. Inspired by both our diocesan ties to Ecuador and old Happening song called "Follow the Way," the full name, "El Camino: Following the Way of Jesus," explains exactly what “GIC” has always been: an extension of the Happening experience where we follow the way of Jesus through service and reflection.