Dear Folks,

How about some good news?!  A newly minted, young priest has said “Yes” to Redeemer’s call.

Our young people have been ably led and served by first Paul Smith and then Vivian Campagna over the last four years, working with a dedicated group of volunteers.  Paul pioneered new service opportunities for youth, connecting recent graduates and other young adults with community partners.  He added experience portfolios to our confirmation curriculum and invited young people and their parents together over dinner to celebrate this milestone.  When professional opportunities beckoned Paul, I asked Vivian to lead youth ministries.  Vivian brought her extensive yoga experience to the work, integrated Sunday morning leaders and learning into the youth program, and deepened the experience of silence, reflection, and worship.  She is now discerning a call to ordained ministry.  I am so thankful for both Paul and Vivian.

Listening to graduates and teenagers currently in RYG, I felt called to further support the life of youth at Redeemer, to draw more people to our programs, and to expand our vision to serve young adults in their 20’s.  With several middle, high school, and colleges nearby and so many young adults drawn to live in Baltimore, I asked the vestry to create a new clergy position, Associate for Youth and Young Adults, and they unanimously agreed.  One said recently, “In this time when so much is being re-imagined within the church and in our world, it is exactly the right moment to redouble our efforts on behalf of young people.”

I am excited to announce that The Rev. Rebecca Ogus will join our clergy team on August 3.  Rebecca graduated from Berkeley Divinity School (Yale) three weeks ago.  While there, she was the program director for the Episcopal Church at Yale, mentoring student leaders and providing undergraduates with pastoral care.  Prior to Yale she was an Americorps volunteer at Benevolence Farm in Graham, North Carolina, a farm-based residential program which assists women in transition from incarceration to re-entry.  Beyond her work with the women, Rebecca supervised service learning volunteers from Elon College and UNC Chapel Hill.  Before her time at Benevolence Farm, Rebecca lived in an intentional community with seven other young adults, developing spiritual practices, communication, and conflict resolution skills.  A year ago Rebecca married Zach, who just completed his PhD at UNC and accepted a position at NASA in Greenbelt.

Rebecca wrote to me this morning and said this: “I feel called to Redeemer because it seems to be a place of honest conversation, reflection, prayer, and action. From talking with staff and parishioners, the parish seems full of people who are actively engaged in their community and life together, figuring out how to live out God’s love in the world. In any moment, and during this moment in particular, I cannot think of a better place to be. In particular, I’m looking forward to getting to know Redeemer’s youth, and to learning how God is speaking and acting in their lives. How are they being called by God right now? How can the church support that call? And what can the rest of the church learn from youth and young adults? Baltimore is a city that sparks deep allegiance from its residents, with a distinct history and personality. As someone new to the area, I can’t wait to learn more about it!”

We are blessed to welcome Rebecca and Zach to Baltimore.