Submitted by Jeff Cuevas-Koch
The first meeting of the Young Adult Prayer Group and Eating Society (or, usually, just YAPGES) was a simple Lenten dinner of soup with 4 attendees in 2016, although informal get-togethers, such as going to picnics to listen to Jazz at LACMA, began in 2014. The structure of the group has changed in a few different directions since that first meeting, more through a slow evolution than any intentional transformation. Among other things, it’s been a bible study, a chance to explore tricky matters of doctrine, and a chance to foster fellowship by getting to know our fellow parishioners better, but always a forum to gain a deeper understanding of our faith and how it relates to young adult life in the 21st century.
By the beginning of 2020, we’d evolved into a monthly gathering of a couple dozen twenty- and thirty-somethings for food, fellowship, discussion, and prayer. We would join each other for a pot-luck dinner, open for all to bring as they are able. St. James is blessed with a diverse congregation, and YAPGES reflects that—especially in the culturally varied food offerings! At the end of the evening, we’d all gather together to wrap things up by sharing in prayer before heading back out into the world.
COVID has affected the next stage of our evolution. These days, we meet on the second Wednesday of every month for an 8pm Zoom call to check in with one another and stay connected while we can’t otherwise meet. We end each meeting with a short worship service led by Mother Kate or Father Jon—usually Compline—drawn from the rich, world-wide tradition of the Anglican Communion.