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The Interdependent

Well Helloooo,

 I for one have had an excellent summer, and I hope you can say the same. If you’ve had results, I hope they were what you needed. We’ve got much to fill this summer issue, so much so that is brimming with fullness! The interchurch young people have been jetting off all around the globe, and there is exciting news about a young people’s social type fun thing – that isn’t Swanwick – that will be discussed by the new young interchurch committee. More on that from Ellen inside. But, for the moment, try and concentrate on controlling your excitement as you turn the pages of your brand new, most recent, the best in its category… Interdependent!

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Editor

Holy Bit

Dear God, As we start a fresh academic year, help us to see problems more as challenges. We pray that we will be able to keep in perspective the important things in life, and always remember that you are there for us. In the same way give us the motivation to be there for others when they need it too. Amen

A Report from California

for all those who didn't get a postcard...

On 22nd July 1997 1 went to America. Loads of things went through my mind on the plane; thoughts of anxiety, apprehension and excitement.

When I arrived I was greeted by an open-armed This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., accompanied by a large "AAIF Welcomes Sarah to California" sign. When we got to the car I was impressed to see the new licence plate Michael had just got for his birthday: AAIF 1. That was the start of many things, such as their answerphone message, that really showed me how deeply Barb and Michael are involved with interchurch families, even with two full time jobs.

The next surprise was when I walked into my bedroom and was greeted by a "Welcome to California, Sarah" banner above my window. From the very beginning Barb and Michael did everything to make me feel at home.

One night we drove out to "1000 Oaks" and had dessert with an interchurch couple who are expecting their first baby. We talked for a long time and I felt the result was good. I was left with the impression that they felt the problems interchurch children are faced with actually make them stronger and more well-rounded young people. This was great, and I felt that I helped.

There was lots of "church". One Sunday we went to the 8. 00 a. m. and the 10. 00 a. m. services at St Wilfrid's, the Episcopal (Anglican) church. It was not because I wanted to be extra holy, or even that I wasn't paying attention the first time, but this way I was able to meet lots of people and talk to them about what AIF is about, and why I was there.

A week later I spoke to the Youth Group from the same church. I talked about double belonging and what it is like to go to two Churches. Then we had a picnic in the sun, and after a discussion about the important things in life (like skate boarding) I played baseball for the first time in my life (and it showed!). Joking aside, we did have a very interesting discussion about how important church is, and whether it matters which church you go to.

That same day we went to the Catholic Church, St Bonaventure, where I had the opportunity at the 5.30 p.m. service to talk about myself and AIF. This was quite nerve-racking as the church seemed so big, and was packed. However, I got a very warm reception and afterwards many people stayed to talk. Some wanted to ask for advice, some to learn more about the Association, some to tell me about their back problems (!), and others, just to say that they thought what I was doing was great, church unity was an excellent cause, and I had their support.

I had a strong impression almost everywhere I went that being a young person who cared so much about what I talked about and what I had experienced made a great impact on people.

Like many interchurch families in England, Michael and Barb are very active in each other's churches, and on a Saturday while I was there they helped to organise a baptism service at the Catholic church. They each took an equal - part in this baptism 11 experience" - as it was for me: there were 16 babies to be baptised! It wasn't as scary as it sounds -though: most babies were very good, and it was so well organised - by Barb and Michael – that it ran without a hitch.

While I was in California I was fortunate to meet up with Fr George Kilcourse, who was passing through on his way back to Kentucky. We talked about lots of progress, including leaflets that Barb is adapting to make relevant for AAIF, and the video about interchurch families that many people took part in while in Virginia last year at the International Conference. Unfortunately, the video is not ready yet, and they are still trying to raise funds for it, but they are hoping it will be ready soon.

We had dessert with the Williams (by now I was becoming accustomed to this great part of American culture!), Lee Williams is a Doctor of Psychology and has been helping with some research on interchurch families in America. The research was not quite finished, and he could not reveal much, but I do look forward to his report.

It is great news for the Interdependent that I managed to phone Mary-Catherine Glauber, who lives in Kentucky (there was a three hour time difference!) and she has agreed to be our American correspondent. The good thing is this should give our favourite magazine a more international flavour. The bad is there will probably be fewer in-jokes for all those who go to Swanwick. But this is very good news and I hope she will be contributing regularly to the Interdependent.

Yes, I worked hard, but don't worry, I also had just enough time to squeeze in: four theme parks; some movies; the excellent American breakfasts, a trip to Hollywood; lots of shopping; and I was introduced to the fabulous invention that is the Smoothie. I even experienced a baseball game.

The food was delicious and plentiful, the television - especially the adverts - bizarre, the weather was fabulous, as was the scenery. Barb and Michael live within walking distance of the beach and an hour's drive away from the mountains and desert, both providing breathtaking views.

In this short (!) report I could never express everything I experienced, everything I learned, or write about all the people I had the pleasure to meet. I made many friends and, if this is possible, I feel I have made some family - Barb's family treated me as such.

Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to go. I think I was able to take with me to Barb and Michael all the support that the Association in England is giving them.

And, to them I owe my biggest thank you. They made sure that there was nothing I needed, and are basically very excellent people.

Overall there was no experience that I didn't learn from, each person I was introduced to taught me something new, and I hope the Association in America benefited as much as I did from the trip, which was an all-round totally positive experience and very successful.

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24 Hours in France

 As most of you know the Foyer Mixtes are the French equivalent of AIF, and their youth, the "Enfants Foyer Mixtes" are also having meetings like ours. I went to their Annual Conference to meet with them. Sarah Reardon also came, with an infinitely better grasp of French than I had.

I could now spend an hour writing a humorous account of our trans-europe journeys (Three women and a fast train? Sarah and Kirsty in Thelma and Louise the Return?! . . . ) However, as I'm not a humorous writer generally I think the bare bones would be better, and probably more interesting.

The weekend was arranged Saturday lunchtime to Sunday lunchtime (and believe me the French can do lunchtimes!)

It was however much more relaxed than the hectic life at Swanwick. The youth programme ran very much like ours at Swanwick, with optional integration with the adults.

The first afternoon we watched a video (I say watched because I certainly had real problems with the understanding!) This led to a discussion of papal infallibility and the formation of a third church. We decided that firstly the Pope was a little far removed from real life to say some things and we had to decide for ourselves. Secondly we said we are not a third Church, we are simply Christians.

Through the weekend we talked more (as my French improved!) about what being an interchurch child meant to us. It was surprising to find, as we went round, a lot of the comments were along the lines of "My father is Catholic and my mother is Protestant. I'm more catholic. . ."

However, having said this they were still interested, and still interchurch children. They simply have a wider view. All through the conference, adults and children said we must make the best use of our differences, and the youth who were not ashamed to say, "I'm more Protestant/Catholic", made me think. We have, I feel, become narrow minded in our determination for confirmation. The French have become more broad-minded, and I wondered if this was the way forward - looking at ecumenism. There is stilI a need for confirmation though, and the French feel as much pain as we do.

Overall the weekend was a very useful experience. It provoked a lot of thought which we were able to discuss at Swanwick. However, it was nice to find, as the sci-fi films tell us, 'you are not alone'.

Kirsty Rigg

The New Committee…

As you will no doubt have read, the young people have decided to take some action after a successful and interesting conference. To that end, a committee has been formed. It currently has seven members, and we feel that ten would be a good number. The Committee will be a body of young people who will represent the "children" (15+) at AIF, helping to plan events (social and spiritual) for conferences, and at other times.

We are hoping to have a meeting in October/November, so if you would like to be involved, please write to the Office (The Vicarage, Epping Green, Epping, Essex CM16 6PN, U.K. or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and you will be sent a letter.

One of the first things that the Committee hopes to do is plan a weekend away in a similar fashion to Birmingham, but with a more social feel – more in the next issue of the Interdependent, but if you are interested we would be pleased to hear from you.

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