STARTING A HAPPENING
What do you need to do to bring the Happening movement to your diocese or convocation?
First things first, a word of clarification: "Happening - A Christian Experience" is not an official program of the Episcopal Church in the US; this means that being part of a diocese of the Episcopal church is not a requirement for starting Happening near you. Happening is a renewal program, much like Cursillo for adults, but designed for high school students in grades 10 through 12 to reflect and enhance the Anglican expression of Christian faith. In most dioceses, there are also opportunities for adults to attend and participate in Happening, so if you didn't go in high school, it isn't too late for you, either!
Step One: Diocesan Permission
To begin Happening in a diocese of the Episcopal church, first get the permission of your bishop. This is very important! The bishop will be asked to sign a Ministry Agreement and forward it together with the first year license fee (currently $150) prior to your first Happening weekend. The bishop should appoint one or two ordained persons who have (0r will have) experienced a Happening weekend to serve as Spiritual Director(s) for the diocesan Happening movement, as well as a Lay Director who will work closely with the spiritual directors and team to help put on the weekend.
Step Two: Obtain a Manual
In order to put on a Happening weekend, you will next need to obtain a Standards and Guidelines for the Happening Weekend manual from us, Happening National Incorporated. This will give you the structure of the weekend and all of the basic information that you will need. This manual can be found on the Resources section of this website, which is password-protected; to acquire access to this password, you will need to submit a request via the Contact the HNC page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step Three: Happening Reconnaissance
After some basic framework is put in place for the organization and direction of the Happening program in your diocese, several youth and adults should attend a Happening in a neighboring diocese to experience the weekend. This is crucial; having the experience of Happening yourself is a vital part of being able to help pass it along to others! This group, together with any youth, clergy, or adults who have recently attended a weekend, will become the seed (planning) group to staff your diocese's first Happening.
Step Four: Happening #1!
This seed group, along with some seasoned staff members from neighboring dioceses, can put on Happening #1 in your diocese according to the information gained from manuals and from attending the neighboring Happening. As you approach your first Happening, remember to choose leaders wisely, and feel free to reach out to us or to other Happening veterans as needed to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible.
Step Five: Post Event Profile!
After your first weekend (and every subsequent one), make sure to submit a Post Event Profile! Remember that it's entirely okay, and actually perfectly normal, if everything isn't exactly perfect the first time... or the second time... or the one hundred twenty-sixth time. God works in beautiful ways through the Happening movement, and it's important to remember that where we do our best, He'll do the rest -- even the best-laid schedules rarely work out as planned, and the spiritual experience of those attending your Happening is more important than any amount of impeccable plan-following.
All this may seem like a long process, but it really isn't. All this can easily happen in six months to a year under the right conditions. If you have questions, please contact Randy Winton, the Executive Director of Happening National, Inc., at email@example.com!