For me, Epic has had a huge influence on my life. Many of my best memories during my teenage years came from getting involved with the Epic crew and activities. Along with fun and excitement, I felt belonging and acceptance for who I was in an uncertain stage of my life. A sense of community that is hard to come by these days. The people at Epic were fun, and their active faith in God and the way they lived their lives really stood out to me, seeing that built into my own faith. They actively encouraged me to explore the bigger questions in life, and it helped me to develop a sense of purpose and meaning.
Epic is more than a youth ministry, it is a vibrant community of people, each with their own story, on their own journey. It is a place where we can meet and join together in finding more about ourselves, more about our place and space in the world, and come to realise the spiritual aspect of who we are. It evolves and grows to suit those who call Epic 'home', however long that may be. That is the beauty of it. It is not fixed in its own ways or tied up by tradition.
I was blessed enough to be involved in Epic throughout my highschool years. I didn't just walk in one day and call it home, it was a longer journey. A journey in which the team at Epic encouraged me to take, and not to rush.
Epic was a place where I felt safe to question things. To poke holes in faith, to challenge things I had read or heard. It allowed me to form a faith in which I had really worked on. It wasn't handed to me, or made glossy. It was real.
My support of Epic now is ironic, considering I didn't want to have anything to do with it when I first came across them. But I always knew the door was open, and there would be someone there to welcome me in, if I wished. When I did float in from time to time, there where no questions of 'where have you been?" but rather, 'how are you going?'.
As I have grown up a little and left Waipukurau, I have become aware of how vital Epic is to the wider community of Central Hawke's Bay. It is a community within a community which provides support and encouragement to a range of young people. Some more rich than others, some more at risk than others. It's a place to call home, to be loved, challenged, and spiritually fed.
We are excited to welcome Tommy as an Epic Trustee for 2017