Grace Episcopal Church in Utica is the church home for a vibrant and growing community of Karen Episcopalians (the Karen people are one of the 135 ethnic tribes in Myanmar (formerly Burma), and many have fled their homeland as refugees due to intense government persecution).
On July 3rd, Grace Church hosted 210 Karen youth and young adults from across The Episcopal Church for the national American Karen Episcopal Youth (AKEY) Day, including an address by Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe. The participants stayed to join Grace Church in Sunday Eucharist.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Fred Vergara, Missioner for Asiamerica Ministries in The Episcopal Church, reflected on the event in a public Facebook post partially reproduced below. You can read his full reflection and view his photos here (no Facebook Account required). reproduced here:
…What is interesting with the young Karen Episcopalians is their double hope: the hope of political liberation of their families in Myanmar and the hope of their empowerment in the United States. Tee Soe, my Karen interpreter told me that he wants to become a lawyer and politician in the United States so he could help his people obtain a clout and recognition in the United States. Another youth hopes to become a priest one day and provide pastoral care to the increasing Karen Episcopalians. …
…I think the mainline Anglican/Episcopal parishes and mission which host Karen groups are blessed beyond measure. I pray that their rectors and diocesan bishops would encourage the emerging leaders, recognize their potentials and give them the support they need so that some could become vestry members, wardens, even deacons, priests— and yes, even bishops.
There’s a new light coming for our beloved Episcopal Church and it is growing brighter. To God be the glory!