New Beginnings

What is New Beginnings?

New Beginnings is a weekend retreat for Junior High Youth focusing on the 2 greatest commandments: loving God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. The event is a unique experience designed specifically to respond to the needs and concerns of Junior High Youth. The retreat is led by a team of youth and adults from around the diocese

What happens on a New Beginnings weekend?

The program begins on Friday evening at 7:00 P.M. when participants arrive, and continues until Sunday afternoon, around 4:00 P.M.

There is a series of talks given by youth and adults, skits, songs and small group discussions and activities. These presentations focus on such subjects as self, friends, parents, siblings, school, God's love, prayer, the Church and "Who is Jesus?" In addition, there is time for fun, creating, and sharing. Participants not only learn and grow, but have a wonderful time. Clergy are present to assist with spiritual direction.

Who may attend?

New Beginnings is designed for junior high youth who are currently in grade 6, 7, or 8. A young person may attend new Beginnings, as a participant or a team member, as many times as he or she would like to. High school students and adults serve as staff for the event.
Any number of youth from one church may attend. Youth and adults do not have to be Episcopalians to attend a weekend.

In addition to the lay and clergy leaders who serve on the team for New Beginnings, adults, especially those interested in the growth of young people are encouraged to attend as sponsors. All congregations sending any young people to a New Beginnings weekend will also send an adult sponsor(s). (there should be 1 adult to every 5 junior high youth)

How much does it cost?

The cost for this event is $65.00 per person (early bird fee). The late fee is $75. Please make checks payable to The Diocese of Chicago.


It is our goal that no young person miss an event because of financial reasons. We offer scholarship assistance for all of our programs and raise funds for this purpose. Ideally we ask the family to pay 1/3, the parish 1/3, and diocesan scholarship funds 1/3. If you have questions regard scholarships or would like to request scholarship assistance, contact Chad Senuta or Jess Elfring.


  • New Beginnings #31 online registration will be available here in fall 2014.
  • After completing online registration please download and return the Medical Release Form for Youth Events.
  • Churches bringing more than 1 youth to New Beginnings are encouraged to send adults to help chaperone the event. Adult chaperones should also register online and submit the Medical Release Form for Youth Events.

interested in serving on staff?

Both adults and High School students in grades 9-12 who are interested in serving on staff for New Beginnings #31 should contact Rev. Jess Elfring for more details. Those wishing to serve on staff must be available to attend staff day for the event which is usually held 2 weeks before the event.

Who leads this event?

New Beginnings is led by high school "Co-Rectors" in addition to a team of high school and adult staff. The student rectors help plan the event, recruit staff, and guide the program during the weekend.

Upcoming Events

New Beginnings #31 Fall 2014 TBD

New Beginnings Staff Meetings and Lock-Ins

New Beginnings #31 Staff Day Fall 2014