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 is new beginnings for?

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.

Upcoming New Beginnings Events

New Beginnings #32 Staff Day TBD TBD
New Beginnings #32 TBD TBD


  • ONLINE REGISTRATION for New Beginnings #32 is now open. 

  • If you are unable to complete online registration, you can download a paper copy of registration forms to return by fax, email, or regular mail.

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

adult chaperones

In addition to the adult leaders who serve on the staff for New Beginnings, we ask that churches bringing 3 or more youth send an adult to help chaperone the event. This helps bridge the connection between the experience at New Beginnings and the home parish. It also helps provide supervision and safety as we seek to maintain a ratio of 1 adult per ever 5 youth at an event. Adult chaperones should also register online and submit the Medical Release Form for Youth Events. Contact the Associate for Youth Ministry with any questions or if this is a hardship for your church.

Who are the leaders for the 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. If you'd like to know more about the C0-Rector selection process and how to apply, check out our Staff Information page.


Both adults and High School students in grades 9-12 who are interested in serving on staff for New Beginnings #32 should REGISTER ONLINE and check out our Staff Information page for more details. Those wishing to serve on staff must be available to attend staff day Oct. 3 from 10 am to 2pm. Contact Chad Senuta with questions.