Simpson Youth Academy

Simpson Youth Academy SYA is year-long educational program for high school students to explore issues of faith and social justice. At the Simpson Youth Academy we believe that young people have power and gifts that are essential for the healing of the world, not just in the distant future, but now.
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Grounded in the Christian tradition and utilizing resources from the United Methodist Church, we are an ecumenical community of youth and adult mentors who explore deep theological questions and take action, in order to equip youth to live into their vocations as agents of peace and justice in the church and world.

Operating as usual

At Christmas, God came into the world to join the tired, the excluded, the stressed out, the fearful, those whose backs ...
12/09/2020

At Christmas, God came into the world to join the tired, the excluded, the stressed out, the fearful, those whose backs are against the wall.

SYA students, alumni, & staff are invited to a special Advent Retreat to spend some time with this challenging & comforting Advent message. Let's get centered, support one another, and deepen our faith together. RSVP to us by December 16!

See you (virtually) tomorrow night! 🎄🎄🎄
12/04/2020

See you (virtually) tomorrow night! 🎄🎄🎄

LAST CHANCE TO RSVP - Get in the Advent spirit next weekend with this beautiful virtual service & student reflections wi...
11/28/2020

LAST CHANCE TO RSVP - Get in the Advent spirit next weekend with this beautiful virtual service & student reflections with SYA. See ya there!

We’re thrilled to invite you to SYA’s virtual Lessons & Carols event 2020! It’s a chance to dialogue with our young lead...
11/09/2020

We’re thrilled to invite you to SYA’s virtual Lessons & Carols event 2020! It’s a chance to dialogue with our young leaders & experience a special service including beautiful choral pieces, scripture, and Advent reflections from youth.

Tickets are free! Please email program director Eric Rucker - [email protected] - to register.

Election week prayers still coming! We gathered as an SYA community last night to draw on the energy of the the "great c...
11/06/2020

Election week prayers still coming! We gathered as an SYA community last night to draw on the energy of the the "great cloud of witnesses" who have gone before us.

Hello friends - Here is the daily prayer, as well as a reminder for our students that we will gather tonight for prayer ...
11/05/2020

Hello friends - Here is the daily prayer, as well as a reminder for our students that we will gather tonight for prayer & support. We are holding you in love & light today. ☀️☀️☀️

🙏🙏🙏
11/04/2020

🙏🙏🙏

Take 5 minutes to sit with today's election week prayer 🙏
11/03/2020

Take 5 minutes to sit with today's election week prayer 🙏

Take 5 minutes to sit with today's election-week prayer 🙏
11/02/2020

Take 5 minutes to sit with today's election-week prayer 🙏

Our first election-week prayer practice. Find a quiet place to take 5 minutes, slow down, and use this prayer to center....
11/01/2020

Our first election-week prayer practice. Find a quiet place to take 5 minutes, slow down, and use this prayer to center. 🙏

Stressed? SYA will be posting a daily prayer practice starting this Sunday & running through election week. Breathe deep...
10/29/2020

Stressed? SYA will be posting a daily prayer practice starting this Sunday & running through election week. Breathe deep, keep drinking water, and be kind to yourself friends 💛

SYA's director is writing with a team of clergy to provide weekly reflections that give mental, physical, & spiritual su...
10/21/2020

SYA's director is writing with a team of clergy to provide weekly reflections that give mental, physical, & spiritual support during this challenging time. Check out the reflection below!

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Last week I found myself driving straight into oncoming traffic, having turned the wrong way down a one-way street. Don’t worry, I’m ok, just embarrassed. There is no geographical explanation for this error. I’ve driven that neighborhood on my way to work hundreds of times. But it’s like my auto-pilot function stopped working. The directions for my life that were once intuitive are so no longer.

This feeling of dislocation is not limited to my morning commutes. I send emails to the wrong people. I miss Zoom calls regularly. I am less attentive to what my loved ones ask of me.

While each of these small inconveniences does not overwhelm me separately, the cumulative toll they take is significant. The task of having to mentally craft three contingency plans for every worship service, event, and school day wears me down.

I want clarity. I either want to go back to my life and ministry as they were before; or forward into a new rhythm of life and ministry that can be relied upon.

But we can neither drag our lives back, nor force them forward.
Can you relate to this impulse to resolve things? What emotions arise in your body as you seek to do so? I am often irritated – at myself and others. I am exhausted. I am forlorn.

I am impatient.

Our biblical ancestors faced similar challenges of dislocation during the Babylonian exile. And they articulated feelings of rage, despair, and confusion to God amidst it. The Psalms, the book of Lamentations, and other scriptures give us permission to be upset about the situation in which we find ourselves. The Bible tells us that this is not the first time God’s people have lost their worlds.
And at the same time that the exilic prophets lament, they paradoxically invite God’s people into patience. They beckon the exiles to make a home in the in-between space. As Jeremiah says to the Babylonian exiles, “Build houses and live in them…plant gardens and eat what they produce.” To be clear, “patience” does not mean settling for situations of injustice, or passively surrendering our call to love God and neighbor. But I wonder if it is a call to a less certain, but still active posture of trust in the face of chaos.

When I can close my office door and sit for a few minutes of silence and prayer, I see more clearly. I see that my irritation and impatience is a visceral demand for answers that do not currently exist. I breathe deeply. I try to look calmly at our current location: we are in between. We’ve let go of one trapeze and are hanging in the air, not having grabbed the other bar toward which we are sailing yet. There are not answers for what family, church, and society look like, because this very day we are co-creating the newest forms of these communities with God. With this realization, the Holy Spirit gifts to me the smallest measure of patience; the choice to loosen my grip and “accept the anxiety of feeling in suspense and incomplete.”

How are you reacting to dislocation? How might you respond in self-compassion right now? As a closing practice, I invite you to pray the below prayer from early twentieth century Jesuit priest and scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.”

10/19/2020
Alumna prayer

A prayer for your Monday from an SYA alumna:

THEY ARE HERE! Applications for SYA 2021 are out - nominate a current 10th-11th grader for this life-changing experience...
10/14/2020
Simpson Youth Academy

THEY ARE HERE! Applications for SYA 2021 are out - nominate a current 10th-11th grader for this life-changing experience!

https://simpson.edu/campus-life/campus-ministry/simpson-youth-academy

At the Simpson Youth Academy we believe that young people have power and gifts that are essential for the healing of the world, not just in the distant future, but now. Grounded in the Christian tradition and utilizing resources from the United Methodist Church, we are an ecumenical community of you...

In lieu of the annual Homecoming service, please join our SYA team as we co-lead virtual worship with Indianola FUMC thi...
10/12/2020

In lieu of the annual Homecoming service, please join our SYA team as we co-lead virtual worship with Indianola FUMC this Sunday morning!

If you'd like to receive a free, brief weekly message with a reflection & prayer practice to support your emotional, spi...
10/07/2020

If you'd like to receive a free, brief weekly message with a reflection & prayer practice to support your emotional, spiritual, physical, & mental health, check this resource out. SYA's director and 3 other faith leaders are offering weekly reflections for our community as we journey through 2020 and beyond. Entitled "Abiding in Exile," this series examines our biblical story to draw wisdom & resources from our spiritual ancestors who found themselves in situations like ours - disorientation, anxiety, fear, and doubt. Link here:
https://iaumc-email.brtapp.com/subscribe

"Trust the slow work of God, & accept the anxiety of feeling in suspense & incomplete." We gathered with some of our new...
10/05/2020

"Trust the slow work of God, & accept the anxiety of feeling in suspense & incomplete." We gathered with some of our newest scholars recently to support one another & explore how we can live faithfully during these times. Check out the full prayer below about living in uncertainty!

We're so excited that Aldersgate UMC -Urbandale has covenanted to serve as an Ally in Youth Ministry congregation with S...
09/29/2020

We're so excited that Aldersgate UMC -Urbandale has covenanted to serve as an Ally in Youth Ministry congregation with SYA! Thank you for your generous support for our youth!

Allies in YM is a new opportunity for local churches to partner with SYA through a more intentional commitment to prayer, nomination, & financial support for our students. Would your church like to step up & partner with us as an Ally? Let us know!

Whether we are students or in the middle of careers, single or partnered, clergy or lay people, we all wrestle with how ...
09/25/2020
Episode 4: God, Call Me Maybe

Whether we are students or in the middle of careers, single or partnered, clergy or lay people, we all wrestle with how God is calling us in each season of life. Check out this The Middle Way podcast where SYA's director interviews 4 folks about their vocational journeys, & reflects upon resources for discernment. It's a great conversation!

https://www.themiddleway.space/post/episode-4-god-call-me-maybe

Vocational discernment is a wilderness experience. We wander, we wonder, we complain to God wishing we could go back.

Catch a refreshing message from our SYA team this Sunday as we guest-lead virtual worship at Dallas Center UMC at 10:00A...
09/24/2020

Catch a refreshing message from our SYA team this Sunday as we guest-lead virtual worship at Dallas Center UMC at 10:00AM! Service is streamed on their page.

We are thrilled to announce that SYA will be offering four scholarships to Episcopal & LGBTQIA youth for the summer 2021...
09/22/2020

We are thrilled to announce that SYA will be offering four scholarships to Episcopal & LGBTQIA youth for the summer 2021! This is possible because of a generous grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa! Thank you Diocese of Iowa for supporting all youth as they grow as faith leaders!

SYA is thrilled to welcome Denny Coon to our Advisory Team! Denny is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa with ...
09/08/2020

SYA is thrilled to welcome Denny Coon to our Advisory Team!

Denny is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa with degrees in education and school administration. He is also am MDiv graduate of St. Paul School of Theology with an emphasis in biblical studies and social justice and a graduate of Columbia School of Theology with a DMin in gospel and culture. He is a retired United Methodist minister who has spent his retirement as a peace circle keeper at the Mitchelville Women’s Correctional Facility and serving several churches as an interim pastor. Denny and Patty live in Ankeny. They have four children and four grandchildren. They enjoy traveling and reading.

Join our fearless SYA team at 9:00am this Sunday as we lead worship at Aldersgate UMC -Urbandale! Watch here:https://ald...
09/04/2020

Join our fearless SYA team at 9:00am this Sunday as we lead worship at Aldersgate UMC -Urbandale! Watch here:

https://aldersgatedsm.org/

SYA small group check-in last night! We reflected on Jesus' Beatitudes & the upside-down Kingdom of God. Which of these ...
08/31/2020

SYA small group check-in last night! We reflected on Jesus' Beatitudes & the upside-down Kingdom of God. Which of these "blessings" is speaking to you? How can we live more fully into this radical vision of discipleship this week?

Catch our SYA team as we lead virtual worship at West Des Moines United Methodist Church this coming Sunday morning!
08/19/2020

Catch our SYA team as we lead virtual worship at West Des Moines United Methodist Church this coming Sunday morning!

Mark your calendar! Regardless of format (in-person, virtual), we WILL be gathering a new cohort next summer!
08/18/2020

Mark your calendar! Regardless of format (in-person, virtual), we WILL be gathering a new cohort next summer!

THANK YOU to the 55 clergy and lay-leaders who gathered with us this weekend for the Called & Sent 2020 youth leaders tr...
08/10/2020

THANK YOU to the 55 clergy and lay-leaders who gathered with us this weekend for the Called & Sent 2020 youth leaders training, & to our adult and youth speakers! We are amazed at how God is knitting together this ecumenical network of communities, enabling us to better shape young Christian leaders. We are stronger together!

SYA small group check-in, processing all the challenges young people face in this historical moment. We wanted to share ...
08/06/2020

SYA small group check-in, processing all the challenges young people face in this historical moment. We wanted to share with our students & families this prayer our group used this week.
🙏💛🙏

Summer newsletter! Check out reflections from Georgia, new SYA scholar, & other important updates at the link below! "SY...
08/03/2020

Summer newsletter! Check out reflections from Georgia, new SYA scholar, & other important updates at the link below!

"SYA showed me that the Bible not only supports seeking justice, but demands it. I now know that by supporting members of my community, fighting for equity, and creating change, I am also working in favor of God. SYA genuinely changed my relationship with God and my faith for the better, strengthened my connections, and gave me the resources that I needed to learn and grow in my faith."

https://mailchi.mp/9ac216de5a32/sya-fall-newsletter-12586072

Last chance to register for the Called & Sent youth leaders virtual training! Check out this fantastic line up of speake...
07/30/2020

Last chance to register for the Called & Sent youth leaders virtual training! Check out this fantastic line up of speakers!

SYA just wrapped up our 2 virtual cohorts for the summer, with 34 young people participating! We give thanks to God for ...
07/27/2020

SYA just wrapped up our 2 virtual cohorts for the summer, with 34 young people participating! We give thanks to God for our youth who came together during this challenging time, asked hard theological questions, encouraged one another, and built leadership skills to do justice. Keep an eye out for a newsletter drop soon to hear from scholars!

Need some support as you prepare to do youth ministry this fall? Please join us for the Called & Sent youth leaders' tra...
07/08/2020

Need some support as you prepare to do youth ministry this fall? Please join us for the Called & Sent youth leaders' training on August 8th! We've got some fantastic adult and youth speakers, including Diane Wasson Eberhart Katie Z. Dawson Ashley Marie-Kuhns Risting Madison Wiertzema Diana Sagastizado Rachel Hollingsworth & Avery Bardole !

This ecumenical 4-hour gathering will equip clergy, youth minsters, & adult volunteers to more effectively partner with high school youth in their churches & communities as they grow into young adult faith leaders. CEUs are available for IAUMC clergy. Contact director Eric Rucker to register: [email protected].

Address

701 North C Street
Indianola, IA
50125

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(515) 961-1406

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Comments

Evening music improv!!
Lillian and the skinny Eric
Introducing Lillian and the skinny Eric! 😂