Happening is a Christian experience presented by teenagers for teenagers with the help of clergy and lay adult leadership.
The purpose of the Happening - A Christian Experiencesm program is to be one of the instruments within the Anglican Tradition to renew the Christian Church in the power of the Holy Spirit, in order that the Church may respond more readily to its call to spread the Kingdom of God throughout the world.
Happening - A Christian Experiencesm seeks to achieve this purpose by bringing young persons and adults to a fuller personal knowledge of and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and to a deeper level of commitment and apostleship. - from Standards and Guidelines for conducting the weekend
What can I expect at a Happening weekend?
During the Happening weekend (usually beginning Friday evening and continuing through Sunday afternoon) there are activities designed for fun and Christian community building among participants.
Throughout the weekend a series of talks are presented by youth and clergy to logically present the elements that define a mature profession of faith and the catechism process. The presentation of key talks by youth using personal life experiences is intended to offer Christ’s message to attending Happeners on a level they can understand, and to answer many of the faith questions youth struggle with daily. Talks about church teachings and their importance in the lives of youth attending the weekend are presented by clergy in a fair and friendly manner. Each talk is a critical building block in the creation of the Happening message. The entire series of talks is given in a sequence that is intended to guide Happeners by opening an avenue of discussions to help them verbalize and internalize their faith questions in a safe environment and hopefully lead to a renewed or new relationship with Christ.
Caritas, or signs of God’s love through letters, messages and small tokens are distributed at times over the weekend to deepen fellowship, and to demonstrate the knowledge and support that comes to each weekend from the “wider church.”
When and where did Happening begin?
The program known as “Happening” originated in Dallas, Texas in the mid-1970’s. It began when some high school aged teens in the Dallas area saw the change that Cursillo® made in their parents lives and wanted to have the same life transforming experience.
Because they were not old enough to attend a Cursillo® weekend, the parents decided to create a program for their teens based on the Cursillo® model, but in a format relevant to high school students. They assembled a team of clergy, adults and teens to explore what other denominations were doing with their teens, and then put together a weekend that was in the Episcopal tradition and called it “Happening”.
Earlier, mention was made of the “wider church.” In 1981, the Diocese of Pittsburgh expanded the reach of Happening to the Diocese of Johannesburg, South Africa. What follows is a description in the words of Gill Rookyard, a former Lay Director, “According to our records, Happening was brought to South Africa in 1981 by the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. A team came to St Luke's, Orchards at the invitation of the Johannesburg Diocesan Youth Advisor. [In the 1990’s] the diocese of Johannesburg split, as the area it covered was incredibly large. As a result, the folk who were involved in Happening in Johannesburg who now fell into the Highveld Diocese ran Happening #1 in the 'new ' diocese.”
Recently, Highveld, SA has taken Happening to the Western shores of Australia (Bunbury), Pittsburgh has taken Happening to Peru, and other programs have spread to Canada, England, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic (where the program is conducted in Spanish), to The Bahamas, and Honduras.
How can I find out more about Happening?
In The Episcopal Church, every diocesan Happening- A Christian Experiencesm program operates under the authority of its diocesan bishop or appropriate Ecclesiastical Authority. You should contact your clergy or the clergy of the local Episcopal Church for assistance in contacting the appropriate person near you. Or you may contact Jude Holcomb email@example.com for further information.