Seen and Heard: Princeton program gives a boost to Calvary youth

September 30, 2018
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The church has changed quickly, says the Rev. Beth Royalty, of Calvary Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Beth Royalty, rector at Calvary Episcopal Church in Rochester, said the church recently received one of the 12 Log College Project grants from the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J.

As the only Episcopal church and the only Minnesota church to receive the award, Calvary is set to embark on an exciting journey reinventing youth ministry.

Royalty, along with members of her congregation, spent many hours this past spring preparing the grant application, which provides Calvary with monetary assistance ($15,000).

But even greater, they will receive extensive support to help grow and reinvent their youth ministry program. Partnering with the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton, Calvary will have access to a Princeton research fellow, hands-on curriculum, a digital curriculum, and five members of Calvary’s “design team” will participate in a youth ministry workshop in June 2019.

The award will afford Calvary collaborative opportunities with the other 11 churches selected, providing a chance for all 12 churches to learn with one another. The grant “stretches across denominations” and shows that “no one church is the expert,” Royalty said.

Royalty, who was ordained in 1999, said, “The church I was ordained to serve is not today’s church. The church has changed that quickly.” Today’s youth are growing up in a different world. “Our kids are beyond busy with great things,” she said. The belief that “Sunday is reserved for church is gone.”

However, what has not changed is a commitment to youth.

“In the Episcopal Church (with the Baptismal covenant), we promise to support and uphold them in their life with Christ and we promise this in a community setting,” Royalty said. With adults advocating for them and partnering with them, the youth at Calvary will begin to craft a ministry for themselves instead of the adults figuring out what teens want.

“Kids are searching and we want to guide them into good and faithful adults,” Royalty said.

Eyeing fame

When Kayla Arend was 4, she was dining at Michaels restaurant with her grandmother, and announced to Michael Pappas, “I want my photo on your wall.” When her grandmother explained that she needed to be famous, Arend proclaimed, “I’m going to be a filmmaker.”

While the walls of Michaels may be long shuttered, Arend is making her way as a filmmaker. She spent nearly seven weeks in Spain in 2014 as part of the film crew for “Strangers on the Earth,” a documentary that chronicles Dane Johansen, an American cellist, and his trek across Spain with his instrument in tow. The film was released in the spring.

Serving as one of eight crew members, Kayla worked as a camera assistant, did still photography, was the production coordinator,and operated the steadicam. Not only did Arend walk nearly 600 miles during the project, she said, “The logistics were so complex.”

Along with “a lot of blisters,” the project certainly opened a door for her.

After a friend reminded Arend of the skill sets she had acquired on the “Strangers on the Earth” project, she decided to her further her education. She is now in her third year at New York University in the Master of Fine Arts program making her own films.

Arend acknowledges that as a filmmaker, “the future is uncertain,” but she is delighted to be pursuing a career she loves.

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