You can’t help but have your hope for the present and future vitality of our diocese increased significantly when you attend a diocesan youth event.
Apocalypse Wow! a dynamic gathering of diocesan youth at Camp Artaban on March 25-27, 2011, represents an aspect of our life together as a diocese that I wish we could all have attended. Many of us older folk might not appreciate just how well organized, focussed and joyful in their faith in Jesus Christ our diocesan youth actually are. Phil Colvin, diocesan youth coordinator, and his skilled team of volunteers know how to organize youth events that inspire, challenge and validate young people for who they are and who they can be.
And the Camp Artaban setting only adds positively to the mix. Many of our youth leaders are ‘graduates’ of leadership training they received through our camp programs – at Artaban, Sorrento, or similar settings. Many of our youth are in the leadership training process at these places now. An inevitable conclusion? Our support of places like Artaban and Sorrento are not optional; these places are not optional in the life of our parish and diocese. They represent an essential investment in people – young people in particular. Let’s support them in any way we can.
Invited as one of the speakers for the weekend, I came away with much more than I came to share — a renewed sense of the wonderful community that Christian camping creates, of the relationships God builds among young and old, of the sheer dedication of our youth to renewing and revitalizing the Church, of appreciation for the volunteers who give of their time and talents to plan and carry out events that bring our youth together for wonderful times of celebration and faith-building.
As the title “Apocalype Wow” would suggest, the theme of the weekend was a look possible scenarios for the ‘end of the world’ and our relationship to those scenarios. Participants experienced everything from end of the world game shows, building survivalist shelters in the woods, an end of the world dance, Bible study around the Book of Revelation, and spirited worship with inspired singing that covered the range from exuberant praise songs to compline with traditional Anglican plainsong chant. Rev. John Oakes delivered two challenging talks including a challenging sermon at an outdoor Eucharist which capped off the weekend. By the way, if you want to see something amazing, you need to witness an enthusiastic bunch of teenagers moving, in the space of about 20 minutes, from a raucous rec hall dance to the quiet contemplation of a candle-lit outdoor compline service of plainsong chant.
What came out of it all? A strong sense that our hope is in Christ, and that the consistent message of the Scriptures, including the Book of Revelation, is one of hope, not fear. Youth returned to their parishes and their daily lives with new insights into the meaning of their faith in Jesus Christ. Whether your parish has a small or large number of youth, one of your great parish resources is an ongoing commitment to our Diocesan Youth Movement and to our ministry of Christian camping. Give these things all the support you can and help make a difference.
Rev. Steve Bailey is a deacon at St. Laurence, Coquitlam, and one of the administrators of the nwanglicanblog. Your comments and stories are welcome.