Ministry Spotlight-Young Adult Ministry
From leading college student retreats to organizing a young adult convocation on the Villa grounds last summer, HM Sisters have a long history of connecting with young adults. The HM Volunteer Service program, which completed its ministry in 2019, helped many young adults experience the joy of serving God’s people in many different places.
For 28 years, the HM Volunteer Service program allowed participants to nurture the seeds of faith and service, in their own lives and in the lives of others, and help them take root for the future. Begun by Sr. Katie King, HM, in 1991 as an extension of her work with high school students in Akron, the program filled a gap and engaged college-aged young adults in ministry.
When the program was in its early years, the volunteers were sent to 26 sites where the HM Sisters worked and there was a focus on short-term volunteering and immersion groups. Over time it evolved to be a year-long commitment. The last HM Volunteers finished their service in 2019 as the program came to completion. HM Volunteer Service Alumni stay connected to the congregation through the alumni director.
Last summer’s Young Adult Convocation at the Villa came about in part because of the pandemic. During the 2021 Lenten season, young adults 20-40 years old and some partners in ministry were invited to join think tank sessions and share their thoughts on how they became connected to the HM Sisters and why they maintain those connections.
Using the data collected during those sessions and research from the Springtide Research Institute, the HM Sisters reflected on the need that was presenting itself during their March 2021 Community Days. The answer was to engage with these young adults and provide them the connections they were seeking.
The convocation was planned by a committee of young adults along with HM Sisters, HM Associates, and Covenant Companions and took place last July. Various presentations provided by HM Sisters, HM Associates, and young adults featured social justice issues such as welcoming the stranger, ending human trafficking, land justice, and the power of purchasing and investing. Other sessions dealt with prayer, blending my story with God’s story, ways my life can witness the Gospel, and how to hold critical conversations with others. The chance for inter-generational sharing and storytelling were favorite activities during the weekend.
As a follow-up to the convocation, HM Young Adult Ministry is continuing to plan events to bring young adults back together. They will be holding a Young Adult Land Retreat at the Villa March 31-April 2. Contact Sr. Jeanne Thurin at email@example.com for more information.