The Vine’s Fall Schedule is out

The Vine is a community for youth in 6th-12th grade and a collaborative ministry of the Episcopal churches in Erie County. The Vine will meet twice a month for dinner, conversation, activities, and prayer. Service, outreach, and mission will also be incorporated during the year, as well as overnights and social events.

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Summer is over and it’s time to get ready for a new year with THE VINE. Are you ready?

What has not changed:

We are still meeting on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month. We are still fabulous.

What has changed:

We will now be meeting from 4:30 pm – 6 pm
We will not serve dinner,  but we will give you snacks

HERE’S THE FALL SCHEDULE (or, at least what we can tell you so far)


Sunday, September 13 from 4:30 – 6 pm at St. Mark’s Church


Sunday, September 27 at 12:45 pm
That’s right. We’re walking. If you’d like to participate, please contact AJ (440-2618) for information and a donation envelope.


Sunday, October 11 from 4:30 – 6 pm
Meet at the playground parking lot. There will be some minor hiking and some major spirituality.


Friday, October 23 at 6 pm – Saturday, October 24 at about 3:30 pm
Meet at St. Mark’s Church parking lot. Eat dinner before you arrive. Cost $15. per person.
We’ll be sleeping at Church of the Redeemer in Hermitage and going to the Coolspring Corn Maze on Saturday morning. It’ll be a fun Halloweenyoctoberpumpkinfun kind of thing.


will take place on Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7 here in Erie at the Cathedral. There WILL be a large VINE contingent attending. More info to come.
No Meeting on Sunday, November 8.


Sunday, November 22 from 4:30 – 6 pm.
Meet at the Cathedral, then we’ll all head over together.
** Parents, friends, siblings are all encouraged to come with us.


Sunday, December 13 from 4:30 – 6 pm at St. Stephen’s Church


Are you getting the e-news? Contact AJ Noyes ( if you’re not. Did you like us on Facebook?
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Subscribe by texting @747ff to 81010.
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Call with questions.

AJ Noyes: ajcnoyes@gmail.com814.440.2618

Craig Dressler: 814.490.5062

Missy Greene: 814.323.2434

Read More about the Vine here

The Cathedral Choir School 2015

Do you know a child who loves to sing?

He who sings, prays twice.

Keep Calm and Join a Choir!

Children who play a musical instrument do better in school.

You’ve heard them all. I’ve used many of them myself to recruit new singers. I first saw the title “Do you know a child who likes to sing?” on a recruitment brochure from St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue in New York. I thought it was a great way to catch the attention of people who might send me lots of children who loved to sing. I used it a few y


ears and then began to notice it was also on most of my colleagues’ recruitment brochures. One summer we were at Salisbury Cathedral in England and, believe it or not, that question was at the top of their choir recruitment poster!

Who could go wrong with quoting St. Augustine: “He who sings, prays twice.”   Parents would be standing in line to sign up their children for the Cathedral Choir! Prayers ascending twice; who could resist?

Why not join the “Keep Calm” fad and add “Join a Choir” to the WWII morale-booster poster? Everyone’s doing it…

And what many of us thought would bring choir enrollment to record highs were all of the studies that prove that children who play a musical instrument or sing in a choir and know how to read music do much better in academics than students who do not. Who wouldn’t want to be smarter and get better grades in school? Children would be begging their parents to be in choir.

11054501_932353570130639_6717629821113683575_nAre all of these one-liners true? Yes, absolutely. Do they help in recruiting? Maybe, but not as much as I would have hoped. Most choirs do not have a long line of parents waiting to sign up young singers for the next choir season. Nor are parents registering their newborns years in advance in order to guarantee a spot in the Cathedral Children’s Choir. Perhaps this is because written materials can only tell you what we do but in order to know what it will mean a person has to experience it.

So here’s my invitation to anyone in the Diocese: come and spend a day, a few hours or even a few minutes at this year’s Choir School at the Cathedral to see how young people are impacted by being in a choir.

A few things you will observe during the week:

  • Children and youth of all ages singing and praying together10565068_818336794865651_4901032998424659801_n
  • Adults teaching and encouraging young singers
  • Older singers mentoring younger singers
  • Daily worship
  • Learning about the Eucharist, the Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal 1982
  • Group rehearsals where singers learn new music and improve individual technique
  • Clergy interacting with singers through worship and Christian Formation sessions
  • Field trips
  • Guest professionals presenting Master Classes
  • Singing the National Anthem at a baseball game
  • Cooking and serving a Pancake Breakfast to 100 of the Cathedral’s Food Pantry guests

Choristers also develop leadership skills, learn to work as part of a team, foster a sense of personal commitment, learn the importance of giving of time, talent and service for the good of the community.

Choir School will be offered at the Cathedral of St. Paul the week of August 17-21 for any young person who would like to explore what it’s like to be in the Cathedral Children’s Choir. Singers come from the Cathedral congregation, from other Episcopal congregations (St. Stephen’s and St. Mark’s) as well as other churches in the community. Singers are only expected to sing at the Cathedral two Sunday mornings each choir season so any singer may remain active in their own congregation. There is no cost to attend Choir School.

10406723_886578358041494_7498215282382553384_nThe Cathedral Children’s Choir meets on Wednesdays from 4:00 pm -5:30 pm September through May. A complete schedule of services, concerts and other singing engagements in the community is published at the end of August.   Children as young as 7 may join. Boys may sing until voice change and girls through high school.

Do you know a child who loves to sing? Of course you do! Please contact the Cathedral of St Paul for more information. Or better yet, bring him or her to Choir School for a stimulating, challenging and fun experience!

Sharon A. Downey, Canon Musician, the Cathedral of St. Paul, Erie, PA

Summer Camp 2015

summer campCamp applications are now available on the diocesan website (Click here for applications, a camp brochure and other forms). Summer Camp is June 14-20 and this year, Camp Nazareth is adding a high and low ropes course.  The Diocese is partnering with them in this project by financing the low ropes course.  Please join us at 7:00 PM on Sunday, June 14 (prior to registration), for a brief liturgy to bless the ropes course.

Every summer for over thirty years, young people in grades 2-12 gather at Camp Nazareth, an Orthodox camp, near Mercer, PA, for a week of summer camp.  The camp is staffed each year by a group of approximately 25 adults from around the diocese who are committed to providing the best camp experience possible.  An average of 130 young people participate in activities that include worship, small group discussions, team building, swimming, softball, and a wide variety of other activities.  This summer camp program is one of the most positive experiences offered in our diocese.  It is its own tradition here and has impacted the lives of many of our young people over the years.  More and more we see those who were once campers returning to be counselors.  Diocesan Summer Camp truly encompasses the best of who we are as a diocese: a community knit together by our faith and our shared experience that is Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Diocesan Picnic

DSCN1197The Diocesan Picnic will be held on Sunday, June 21st at Waldameer.  Come and join in on some great fellowship.  Registration  starts at 10:00 a.m. and the Service begins at 11:00 a.m.  There will be a delicious buffet that lasts for four hours from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Tickets are $20 per person (with a total cost of no more than $80 per family).  Tickets are available from your local church.  Waldameer is donating the tickets and food so all proceeds from tickets sales will be placed in a fund for scholarships to youth events such as Summer Camp (at Camp Nazareth) and for local church youth programs. All tickets must be purchased no later than June 8th.DSCN1032

The picnic will take place at Picnic Grove Headquarters, Southern #1 Shelter rain or shine (for a map of picnic shelters click here).  The Waldameer rides rune from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Water World is open from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (swimwear required). There will be plenty of fun for everyone!

An Experience Worth Repeating

The Vine, a community for youth in 6th-12th grade and a collaborative ministry of the Episcopal churches in Erie County, completed their first service trip this past March. They visited Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, in Brookville, PA to help care for the pews and tongue and groove walls.  The walls are made of Pine and require periodic oiling which hadn’t been done since the 1990’s.  The church was very grateful for the help.  Nina Palattella age 17, from the Cathedral of St. Paul describes her experience below. 14575_421588328008187_1905592289553097637_nI had the fortune of traveling with The Vine, an Episcopal community for youth centered in Erie, PA, to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Brookville, PA, on March 21-22. While in the church, I and fifteen other youth helped by polishing the wooden walls and the pews of the beautiful church. During a break in our work, Pastor Melinda was kind enough to walk us down to the town dam not far from the church. After spending the night in the parish hall, we were served a wonderful breakfast that was prepared by one of the parishioners at Holy Trinity, and then attended the morning worship. We were met with incredible hospitality throughout our stay by all of the members of the church, who were very grateful for our work, and for that I would like to thank them. I chose to attend the trip because I was excited to have the opportunity to help the wider Episcopal community. I enjoyed the experience because I got to help people in my church community, and I knew that what we were doing would last for a long time. Many people thanked us at the service in the morning, and I was glad to know that they appreciated the work we had done for them. I think that our first mission trip as The Vine was a success and definitely an experience worth repeating. ~Nina Palattella, Cathedral of St. Paul

Beautiful Young Voices Rang From the Rafters

Treblefest, an annual event where choristers from Ohio and NW Pennsylvania attend at Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, in the Diocese of Ohio recently took place on Saturday March 7, 2015. Each year, a conductor of international or national prominence is invited to instruct and lead the choristers. This year’s conductor was James O’Donnell, the Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey in London England. Mr. O’Donnell is an internationally recognized conductor and organ recitalist, having given concerts all over the world. In addition to his full schedule of daily choral services, his responsibilities have also included directing music for a service in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI and the Wedding of the The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April 2011.

Four of The Cathedral of St Paul’s’ own choristers travelled to Cleveland to participate in this year’s Treblefest. Lydia Andraso, Emma Schuette, Elise Roessner and Julia Roessner joined around 70 other choristers from St Michael’s in the Hills church, Toledo, St Paul’s church, Akron , St Paul’s church, Cleveland Heights and Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland. Their day began at 9 am to rehearse the music and responses for the 3 pm Choral Evensong. The Right Reverend Mark Hollingsworth, Jr, Bishop of the Diocese of Ohio served as Officiant and Preacher for the service and provided a wonderful sermon on the origins of the Tuning pitch “A” and 440 hz. He went on to challenge the choristers to be an “A” in everything they do in life.

This wonderful experience allowed our choristers to interact with fellow choristers from the other parishes for the day of fellowship and instruction from one of the preeminent conductors in the world.

Eric Schuette, Member St. Stephen’s, Fairview


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The Vine is a community for youth in 6th-12th grade and a collaborative ministry of the Episcopal churches in Erie County. The Vine will meet twice a month for dinner, conversation, activities, and prayer. Service, outreach, and mission will also be incorporated during the year, as well as overnights and social events.

A theme has been set in place to focus our conversations and purpose. This year The Vine will focus on the theme of community. During the fall, we will look at the communities of the church and our role in them. In the spring, we will explore the communities that we are a part of outside the church and our role in them. We will also begin preparing for our summer missions.

Plans are underway for two mission opportunities during the summer of 2015. Middle School students, those in 6th-8th grade, will have the opportunity to do local mission work within our diocese or in a neighboring diocese. High School students, those in 9th-12th grade, will have the opportunity to do domestic mission work in another diocese. Currently, we are exploring mission opportunities in Boston, MA. More information will be available at a later date. In order to take part in our summer missions, students must attend at least half of The Vine meetings throughout the year. As we move forward, meetings will incorporate preparation for these missions.

The Vine is meant to be a safe and loving community for all youth. We ask that all our members be respectful toward one another. Bullying, harassment, and violent behavior toward any member of The Vine will not be tolerated. We also ask that youth bring their whole selves to each Vine meeting and event. Come prepared to worship, learn, and engage in the activities planned for the evening or the event. Come prepared to develop and strengthen your relationship with others and with God.

For more information and to see a schedule of Vine events, click here.

The Youth Experience at Convention

By Missy Greene, Formation Advisory Board Member and Christian Formation Associate, St. Stephen’s, Fairview & By Mari Holben, age 14, St. Mark’s, Erie

By Missy Greene:

For the second year in a row, our diocese, through the Formation Advisory Board, has hosted an Official Youth Delegation at Diocesan Convention. In 2013, we had five youth delegates from around the diocese and this year we had six. The delegates were Mari Holben from St. Mark’s, Josie Noyes and Henry Palattella from the Cathedral, and Kara Perrotta, Abby and Sarah Wheeler from St. Jude’s.

The Official Youth Delegation met on Thursday evening before Convention began to get to know one another, as well as learn the ins and outs of what will happen over the couple of days of Convention. In order to get a better understanding of the business side of Convention, the youth participated in a mock Convention. Each youth was assigned to a character, read up on their background, and then had a chance to speak for or against mock resolutions. It was a lot of fun and did, in fact, spark some good debate.

During Convention, the Official Youth Delegation is granted seat and voice. They are then required to participate in all aspects of Convention: listening to the speakers, participating in workshops, attending the dinner, and speaking to resolutions if there is an opportunity. To keep them engaged and to get them interacting with the adult delegates, the youth had two activities to complete: bingo and a scavenger hunt. Bingo was filled with words that may be heard at Convention from the microphone, so the youth had to pay close attention to catch the words on their sheet. The scavenger hunt required obtaining signatures and pictures of, and with, people at Convention.

The Formation Advisory Board is very excited to continue this ministry. It is important for the young people in our congregations to understand how the diocese and churches are governed, as well as be a part of this large gathering of leaders. Youth are not only the future of the church, but they are part of the church now and should be represented. Please be sure to ask this year’s members of the youth delegation about their Convention experience. Mari Holben has been kind enough to write some of her thoughts down for you below.

By Mari Holben:

I wanted to be a youth delegate at the Diocesan Convention because of how interesting it is.  Not only does Convention interest me, but it makes me feel part of the church.  Even though we don’t have a vote, much of the things voted on don’t pertain to the youth.  By getting the chance to participate in Convention the youth feel part of the church.  As a youth delegate at Convention, you sit and observe the main Convention, you get to go to the dinner and talk with members of the church, and you participate in workshops.  As a youth delegate of Convention you do as much as any other person except we don’t have the right to vote.  During Convention I learned what major problems and accomplishments the church has gone through in the past year.  From Convention, you learn more about behind the scenes of the church and the decisions that affect the church every Sunday.  If you have the opportunity to become a youth delegate for Convention it is a decision you won’t regret.  If you are a participating member of your church and interested in learning more about our Diocese, Convention is great.  It is a wonderful experience and, even if you don’t enjoy it, you will learn a great deal from it.