Seed and Root Groups Begin
The youth ministry has been developing Seed and Root groups for about a year, after two high school students in EYC (Episcopal Youth Community) suggested to Youth Minister Jeremy Bradley that there be some sort of opportunity for Bible study and fellowship geared to the older teens held in the setting of a home. “We want to listen to students,” says Bradley.
Replacing EYC, which met as one group of 6-12th graders on Sunday afternoons at church, the new format divides members into a “Seed” group for middle schoolers and a “Root” group for high school students. Each group meets on a weeknight for age-appropriate conversation in members’ homes rather than at church.
In planning the Seed and Root groups, several decisions were both missional and intentional, says Christy Orman, youth ministry associate. The midweek gathering, for example, “gives Sunday evenings back to families” for them to come together or get prepped for the week ahead. The satellite locations address the difficulty of students reaching the downtown campus. And by meeting in small groups in small spaces – and in sharing a meal – the conversations can be more intimate.
With meetings beyond the church walls, the Seed and Root groups initiative joins other neighborhood programs offered by the Cathedral. Examples include Bible by the Glass, the Vicar’s Road Show and, at the holidays, the Latino/Hispanic Ministry’s Las Posadas. In addition, the church’s youth program leaders already visit middle and high schools at lunch.
Says Dean Barkley Thompson, "House groups were the manner in which the earliest Christians met to share their faith and deepen relationships. Seed and Root groups will allow our youth to tap in to that rich history. I'm eager to see what fruits grow from this new format."
Going into the community is also a response to formational, missional, and youth goals put forth at the diocesan level in its Vision 2020.
Deepening faith through conversation
Bradley says both groups “will explore Christianity and fellowship, the Bible, our traditions, worship, prayer, and caring for one another,” although the groups will be distinct from one other according to their ages.
As the group names suggest, the Seeds will be planted in younger students while the older ones will draw on their Roots to dig deeper into topics.
By design and intent, the new program is less formal than Sunday School, he says, which continues at the church on Sunday, and is not lectionary based.
Instead, topics draw from curriculum, current events, and personal experiences, or “what’s alive in their lives at the moment,” as Christy Orman, the youth ministry associate, explains it. “If needed, we can pivot to hear their questions.”
Bradley describes the vibe as “more of a ‘hangout’ as we deepen our faith through conversations and we build up our friendships within our church community.”
Opportunities to lead and contribute
Seed and Root group meetings will be led by a combination of youth leaders, including Bradley, Orman, Cathedral parents and adults, and vetted young leaders from around the diocese.
The co-leaders are appreciative of the families and individuals who agreed to provide leadership, host groups in their homes, and offer meal provisions.
If you would like to support our youth Seed and Root groups as a host, leader, or meal provider, please contact Youth Minister Jeremy Bradley at