Since 2005 the Diocese of Kansas Youth Program has engaged college students in youth ministry and vocational discernment through our summer internship program. Many of these students are now paid staff members and volunteers in parish youth ministries in our diocese.

We believe this internship is a powerful instrument of spiritual formation as well as a wonderful opportunity for vocational discernment. We need more faithful, committed, and talented leaders in both lay and ordained ministry. This internship seeks to equip and send a young disciple into the “harvest field” of youth ministry.

The Summer Youth Ministry Intern will:

  1. Grow in Relationship with God.
  2. Train in Ministry and Life Skills
  3. Develop other young leaders
  4. Do Ministry

Who is the internship for? Episcopal college students and young adults who are interested in youth ministry. Students must have completed their first year of college before they can apply.

Is it paid? YES! The intern is expected to work full-time for 10-12 weeks from mid-May to the end of July. Free housing may be arranged at the KU Canterbury House. Interns get two “personal days” during the summer that may be used with prior approval.

How can I apply? Application packets and two references must be submitted by February 28 each year.

Questions? Contact Youth Missioner Karen Schlabach, 913-708-5927 or

Intern Reflections

The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas youth program is something I hold very dear to my heart. I like to think that because of this program I am the way I am. Going to youth events growing up allowed me to connect with people on deeper levels and be able to express my faith in the way I feel like it should be expressed. This summer I had the pleasure of preparing for Mega Camp, attending St. Thomas’s Reaching Out to The Community in Overland Park, and ending the summer going through Happening #91. This summer has been an experience that helped me grow more in my faith and learn more about myself as well as others.

One thing I really enjoyed working on this summer was preparing the Girls Only Weekend for next summer. This was an awesome task that allowed me to see all the love and effort that is put into these events. The things I learned this summer I will carry with me for the years to come. It made me fall more in love with the Episcopal community. It was life changing seeing youth grow in their faith and seeing God’s love through each other. I thank the Diocese of Kansas for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this program.

-Kensey Plummer, West Texas A&M University

Working as an intern this summer has been a wonderful, eye-opening experience. From helping plan Mega Camp, to staffing a Community Outreach camp at St. Thomas the Apostle, to going through Happening #91 as a happener, this summer has been one of a kind.

There have been many aspects to this internship that I have found rewarding. For example, one of the best parts about this internship has been that it has allowed me to participate in youth ministry at both diocesan and parish levels. As the intern, I was a staffer at both Mega Camp (diocesan event) and St. Thomas the Apostle’s ROTC Camp (parish-based event). As these events were slightly different in size and location, it was fascinating to be apart of both and use the experiences to further my personal discernment process with youth ministry.

Another aspect of the internship that I have found rewarding is the administrative aspect of the job. Until this summer, I had no idea just how much planning, organizing, and strategizing went into executing a diocesan youth event. Being apart of these processes gave me a new appreciation for the role of Youth Missioner as well as gave me the chance to work and improve upon professional skills needed for the workforce.

In conclusion, this summer has been an incredible experience and I would recommend this internship to anyone with a heart for ministry and an interest in discernment.

-Janelle Sparkman, Kansas State University

Previous Interns:
2005 – Katie Knoll Lenon
2006 – Natalie Vanatta, Christina Waggoner
2007 – Cristin Canaday, Steven King, Michael (Knoll) Funston, Natalie Vanatta
2008 – Sarah Brower, Steven King, Elisha McCallum, Natalie Vanatta
2009 – Elisha McCallum, Natalie Vanatta, Michael (Knoll) Funston (half summer)
2010 – Ellen (Weaver) King, Dalton Harts
2011 – Dalton Harts
2012 – Rachel Haley, Tyler Kerr
2013 – Annie Unruh
2014 – Chris Ash, Daniel Falk
2015 – Tyler Kerr, Sydney Webb
2016 – Kensey Plummer, Janelle Sparkman
2017 – Dillon Green, Katie Knoll Lenon

Where are they now? The summer youth ministry internship is designed to help students discern if they have a future in ministry. Some decide they have other paths they would like to pursue, but many of our summer youth ministry interns go on to work in other ministry jobs for the Episcopal church, or continue to volunteer at Youth Events.

Katie Knoll Lenon went on to be a Campus Ministry Intern at KU Canterbury for one year, then worked at St. Thomas, Overland Park, for 9 years as the Youth Minister and Director of Small Groups. She graduated from seminary in May 2017 and is currently serving as a Chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital in KCMO and deacon at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Shawnee.

Natalie Vanatta worked for one year as a part-time youth minister at St. Luke’s in Wamego. Then she represented the Diocese of Kansas at General Convention in 2012. She then served as the full time Youth Minister at Trinity Church in the City of Boston for two years.

Steven King worked as the part-time youth minister at St. Margaret’s in Lawrence, then participated in the Episcopal Service Corps for one year. He graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in May 2014. He was ordained to the priesthood in January 2015. He served as Assistant Priest at St. Thomas the Apostle in Overland Park in charge of Youth Ministries and Small Groups for 2 1/2 years and is currently Director of Congregational Life at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Omaha, NE.

Michael Funston was the Interim Director of Youth Ministries at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Washington DC for two years. Then she served as the Interim Youth Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas in 2012. She also served as the Youth Peer Ministry Coordinator for the Diocese from 2011-2015.

Ellen (Weaver) King served as the Minister to Youth, Children & Families at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria, VA for three years. She served on the diocesan youth commission for one year and as camp director for two years.

Rachel Haley served as the part-time youth minister at St. Margaret’s in Lawrence for three years. She has also served as the summer youth ministry intern at St. Thomas in Overland Park for three years, and did a youth ministry internship with the Diocese during her Winter break in 2015. She then volunteered at St. Paul’s in Indianapolis with their youth program for a year.

Tyler Kerr served as the part-time youth minister at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lawrence for three years. He also served as a campus peer minister at KU Canterbury for three years. He received a UTO young adult grant in 2015 to coordinate and plan youth and college student trips to General Convention.

Sydney Webb signed up for a year in the Episcopal Service Core following her college graduation, and renewed for a second year after that.

Janelle Sparkman serves as the volunteer youth minister at St. Paul’s in Manhattan.

Dillon Green is the Campus Ministry Intern at K-State and in the discernment process to become a priest. He hopes to start seminary in Fall 2018.

Kensey Plummer returns every summer to serve on camp staff.

Christina Waggoner became a nurse and has helped at several youth events in that capacity.

Sarah Brower became a nurse and has helped at several youth events in that capacity.


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