Keep us Silly, Keep us Somber

by Michaelene Miller on July 30, 2015
It has been quite the year for the St. Margaret’s Episcopal Youth Community. Just like any other rollercoaster of fun, it went by way too quickly for this girl. While I am sad that my time at St. Margaret’s has come to an end, I am grateful to take the fun memories and new friendships with me as I head off to the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA.

The youth at St. Margaret’s taught me a lot.  I discovered that searching for the hidden, disassembled sections of a flashlight around the church at night can indeed be very suspenseful and entertaining, especially when hiding from the appointed “grog.” I learned how special a rare moment of silence can be when it is shared between twelve lively youth in the House of Prayer. I even learned new, hip slang like, “shade” and “salty.” Most importantly, though, the youth opened my eyes to the importance of play in community. Many of us live, worship, and exist in some sort of community, but how often do we allow ourselves to play together? Play involves letting our guards down, working together, trying new things, making mistakes, encouraging each other, and opening our eyes to the beauty of simply enjoying life together. Play doesn’t stop the youth from taking in the hardships or lessons of this world, but it is the medium through which they live. Their lifestyle reminds me of one of my favorite Camp Mitchell camp songs, “God Our Father,” which sings the line “keep us silly, keep us somber.”

It was with this spirit of silly and somber play that the St. Margaret’s Pilgrims embarked on the Gateway to Service Mission Trip to St. Louis, MO. During the trip, the youth lived to seek God’s presence in all of the people and places we encountered, they were exposed to both the good and harsh realities of the world in which we live, and they discovered moments of wonder everywhere we went. We somberly stood together with spirits of humility as we took in the stories of racial justice activists working in Ferguson and learned about the many issues that the organizations we experienced work to counter in their missions; such as elderly women living without support systems, food deserts in poverty stricken areas, the inaccessibility of nutritional foods for those living with cancer and HIV/AIDS, and domestic abuse. Together we learned how to take in these truths and turn to our work with somber, but silly hearts that are continuously renewed through God’s call to love and serve each other with gladness. Ask a pilgrim today what they learned on their Gateway to Service Mission Trip and listen for the song God longs to teach you through their silly and somber hearts. It is a melody I hope to always remember.

Read more about our Celebrations:
General Convention Highlights
"Man-Food" with the Mayor