By G. Jeffrey MacDonald

As the Episcopal Church looks to invigorate a new generation, hopes are rising for the prospect of staging a first-time regional event in Panama for Spanish-speaking youth.

But funding could be an obstacle. General Convention’s Christian Formation and Discipleship Committee is weighing whether to attach a $150,000 funding requirement to Resolution A033 in order to close a funding gap. The event would be open to those ages 16 to 26, which places it in a category of scarce resources, said committee co-chair Dena Harrison, Suffragan Bishop of Texas.

“We’re seeing a whole series of these requests because there is no money in the formation budget for anything other than youth,” she said. “There’s money, but it’s designated for children and teens” for the most part.

Funds for young-adult initiatives, including an administrative support request for $150,000 over three years from Episcopal Service Corps, would need to come from a $1.2 million allocation for unfunded resolutions. But groups across the church are already vying for the same resources.

“Everybody is competing over the $1.2 million,” Harrison said.

Advocates for youth events say they lay foundations for future church involvement and leadership. Funds are already allocated for the annual Episcopal Youth Event, Harrison said. A group of more that 10 youth showed up at the committee’s hearing July 5 to testify to the value of their EYE experiences.

“It made me feel like I belong to the Episcopal Church,” said Angela Cainguitan, 18, from the Diocese of Hawaii.

Simply offering translation services at EYE would not provide the same level of experience for Spanish-speaking youth as the event proposed for Panama, said Bronwyn Scov, director of formation, youth, and young adult ministries for the Episcopal Church. She said her team is ready to support such an event, which would aim to draw youth from seven countries in Province IX.

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