Caitlin Kane is on board to lead the Island’s Christian ecumenical youth group, the Net, this year. Her husband, Harrison Kisiel, will help out. The couple married at Felix Neck in 2012, and decided to make the move to the Island not long after. Harrison is caretaker at a horse farm, and Caitlin works at an Island bank.
“We actually rented the house my parents brought me home to for our wedding,” Caitlin said.
I met Caitlin at Waterside Market in Vineyard Haven after she attended the 10 am service at Grace Church last Sunday, where Father Brian Murdoch held a blessing of backpacks to kick off the school year.
Caitlin, 28, explained that the church youth group she attended in New Hampshire, where she grew up, was a strong foundation in her own life.
“That youth group was my home away from home,” she said.
She said she loved helping the youth minister at her church: “He was very supportive, and that experience really grounded me.”
I asked Caitlin what she thought were the most important elements of a good faith-based youth group.
“It should be a place where you can ask questions and not be afraid of the answers,” she said. “It should help you keep faith as a part of your life. And it’s fun, food, games, and friendship — friends that will last your whole life. It’s having a group of friends that will lift you up and also hold you accountable, rather than take you in a direction you don’t want to go.”
This year the Net, which is supported by seven Island denominations, will be held at one site, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown. The church has prepared a special space for the youth group, and will host Sunday evening “check-ins” from 5 to 7 pm, and Friday night “drop-ins” from 6 to 8 pm. The Net is for middle and high school kids, and is open to everyone, no matter their denomination. Caitlin explained that one element of the youth group is being able to talk about matters surrounding faith in a safe space. The check-ins will offer a chance to do just that; the group will catch up and also have time to hang out with friends. Drop-ins will be less structured, Caitlin said, and young people can expect to watch movies, experience open-mic nights, play Ping-Pong and air hockey, and enjoy food and friendship.
The Net has a full calendar this year, with two trips to Boston to work with Common Cathedral’s CityReach homeless ministry, a trip to Atlanta to explore the civil rights movement, the local CROP Hunger Walk, a ski trip, an indoor golf tournament, middle school and high school retreats, and a Christmas lock-in.
“Last year around 20 kids went to CityReach,” Caitlin said. “We’d love to see more than that. We plan to do two trips this year, one in winter and one in spring, because school schedules are so busy with sports and music events. We want everyone to get a chance to go.”
One aspect of leading the Net that Caitlin is looking forward to is helping young people discover their gifts. She and Harrison are both musical, and have a praise and worship music background. “We’d love to get the kids to use their talent,” she said.
The main focus though, she said, is offering a space for young people to hang out and be together in a place where they feel comfortable to share their faith and their questions.
“We’re not looking for your baptism certificate,” she said. “We just want you to come and see what we’re all about.”
The Net will meet on Sunday, Sept. 25, from 5 to 7 pm at St. Andrew’s. The schedule will follow the school year. For more information, call Caitlin at 603-479-7151, or St. Andrew’s Church at 508-627-5330.
I ran into the Rev. Cathlin Baker at the West Tisbury library last week, and asked her when she was leaving for her sabbatical in Scotland: “Tomorrow,” she grinned. Bon voyage, Cathlin, and many wishes for a fruitful experience!
On Saturday, Sept. 24, at 10 am, Rabbi Caryn Broitman will lead the Shabbat morning service, followed by a potluck kiddush at 11:15 to welcome rabbinic intern Daniel Schaefer at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center.
The Hebrew Center’s new adult education course “Modern Challenges, Ancient Wisdom: Jewish Perspectives on Social Need” begins on Sunday, Sept. 25, from 10:30 am to noon. Mr. Schaefer will teach the course, which will run through December. Topics include climate change, food justice, affordable housing, and immigration. Call the Hebrew Center office to register, 508-693-0745.
Pizza night returns to Chilmark Community Church on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 6 pm. Hard to believe it’s time to put down the lobster rolls and grab a slice instead.
Griffin McMahon, recent graduate of Juilliard School of Music and new organist and music director at St. Andrew’s Church, will offer a free recital at St. Andrew’s Church, at the corner of Summer and Winter Streets in Edgartown, on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 4 pm. The program will feature a wide range of music, including works by J.S. Bach, selections from American contemporary music, and early music.
Every other week, Connie Berry reports on the news, events, and people at Martha’s Vineyard’s various places of worship. If you have news for Have Faith, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.