Talking Shop

"Talking Shop" offers information on resources of particular use to youth ministers, mentors, and other youthworkers.  Do you have a great idea to share? Maybe a new find or longtime favorite go-to resource? Contact us.


New Model Policy for Safeguarding our Children and Young Adults

In April 2018, a task force of the Episcopal Church released an updated "Model Policy for the Protection of Children and Youth" . The group also wrote a " Model Policy for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults ." This work was launched in 2015 by a resolution of General Convention, and over the next 2 and a half years, experts and practitioners from around the country worked on the update.

These model policies are grounded in Episcopal theology and baptismal promises to respect the dignity of every human being and dismantle unjust systems. They begin with a theological statement and include provisions for use of social media, mission trips, pilgrimages, camp and conference center programs, and other overnight events.


Nurturing Young Prophets

A lesson plan based on the July 8, 2018 sermon at the General Convention Eucharist.

On Sunday, July 8, 2018, 18-year-old Andrés González-Bonillas preached at the General Convention Eucharist in Austin, TX. Sharing this 15-minute video can serve as an excellent discussion-starter for your youth group this summer or in the fall. In addition to a video of the sermon, the text is also available, in both English and Español.

Sharing this video with your youth group could be the springboard for an interesting discussion on race and class, on the intersection of faith and culture, and on their vision for the church today. 


Mental Health:  A Guide for Faith Leaders

In 2016 the Mental Health and Faith Community Partnership of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation published a brief and useful guide for faith leaders (including youth workers) on mental health, mental illness, and treatment.

In addition to a highly readable and accessible mental health overview, the guide includes such topics as how congregations can be more inclusive and welcoming of people with mental illness, distinguishing religious or spiritual problems from mental illness, and approaching a person with an urgent mental health concern.

The foundation also offers their "Quick Reference On Mental Health for Faith Leaders," a handy refresher for seasoned youth workers as well as a great tool for folks new to the field.


Can Schools Discipline Students for Protesting? And might if affect my college acceptance?

Students around the country are "taking it to the streets" in an inspiring and exemplary push for legislative change. But what are the risks?  Can schools discipline students for speaking out. The short answer? It depends on when, where, and how the students decide to express themselves.  See this article from the ACLU for more.

Similarly, high school seniors are wondering, will I jeopordize my college acceptnce if I participate in a peaceful protest?  That will depend on the college, of course, but the National Association for College Admissions (NACAC) has collected information from member colleges and universities that outlines their practices around how disciplinary actions related to activism will be factored into the admission process.             


10 Ways Well-Meaning White Teachers Bring Racism Into Our Schools [and Churches!]

Originally written for classroom teachers, this important article addresses an issue that is just as important for youth workers, youth ministers, Christian educators, and others working with young people in church.


Open Sanctuary: What Youth Leaders and Young People Can do for Immigrant Families

People around the diocese are thinking about how to make their parishes into safe sanctuaries, especially for those families and individuals who are being targeted by homeland security. This list of resources for youth leaders and youth groups can help you think about what your parish can do to help this effort:


Encouraging Mindfulness:  Supporting Resiliency in an Anxious World

A growing body of research supports what any of us working with young people already know--that our young people are experiencing increasing amounts of stress.   More importantly, a growing body of evidence supports that increased time on smartphones is part of the problem. Well, smartphones are not going away, but as you consider how to shape your program and relationships with your young people this year, here are a couple of articles that offer some simple but powerful steps we can take to help counteract the stress our kids are suffering under.


Thinking About Youth on Vestry

Being a vestry member means leading in a community of faith. It means committing yourself to stewardship. It means speaking and acting from your own experience for the benefit of others.


Thinking About Programs

Are you thinking about adding new structure to your church youth program this fall? Whether you are creating something new, or fine-tuning well-established programming, here are some thoughts to help steer your planning, adapted from resources offered by Elizabeth Barker Ring, a consultant for formation and leadership in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine.


Video Discussion Starter: Youth Voice and Engagement in the Church

Two interviews from a recent General Convention are great tools to start a dialogue within your church--among your young people and between youth and adults--about the extent to which young people and their full involvement may be encouraged and discouraged in your parish.


Faithfully Facebook: A Lesson Plan and Social Strategy for Youth Ministries

Facebook is and will be for a while, the dominant social network in Youth Ministry. It can be a great tool to communicate with teenagers and to collaborate on teams.  However, with anything there can also be pitfalls.  We have seen rampant hacking of Facebook accounts, cyberbullying through Facebook, and many people who posted something that they intended to be seen by only a few people.  


Youth in Mission: Trip-Planning Manual

Launched in 2014, this terrific on-line resource is a joint project of the Episcopal Church Office of Youth Ministry and the Inspiring Mission.  The guide contains all the background information you need to get started planning your next mission experience.