Provincial Ministry Committee Hears Presentation on Canadian Anglican Youth Ministry

The Standing Committee on Ministry of the Anglican Ecclesiastical Province of BC and Yukon has developed a number of recommendations for presentation to the bishops and diocesan councils of the Province concerning youth and camping ministries. These recommendations are based on the expressed needs of youth ministry leaders themselves.

Phil Colvin, diocesan youth coordinator, along with Pastor Kristen Steele representing the BC Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada met with the Ministry Committee on October 20 to present a ‘state of the art’ concerning youth ministry initiatives and visioning in both denominations and in the Anglican Church of Canada generally.

“We now have a well established network of youth coordinators across the Anglican Church of Canada and across the Province of BC and Yukon,” Phil Colvin pointed out. Diocesan youth coordinators from across Canada recently met at Camp Columbia in the Diocese of BC. Two keys to Anglican youth ministry in our own Province are the Sorrento Centre youth leadership training programs, and the British Columbia and Yukon Anglican Youth Movement (BCYAYM).

“Canadian Anglican youth ministry has gone beyond ‘self preservation’ as a goal and is exploring new models and approaches to ministering ‘with’ youth”, Colvin pointed out. Pastor Kristen Steele said an important adjunct to over-all youth ministry at the parish, diocesan and national levels is Christian camping ministry. She pointed out that the BC Synod of ELCIC presently does not have a camping facility and that Lutheran youth would be a great source of camp staff.

The gatherings of BCYAYM – one at Thanksgiving and one in the Spring each year  – make lasting impact on the life of young people. If you haven’t seen the Youtube videos of the recent gathering in Penticton, do hunt them down and watch them. They’re great. I’ve witnessed first hand through attendance at Sorrento Centre summer events the high quality of youth leadership and the enthusiastic participation of youth in camp programs. You haven’t lived until you’ve done “Holy Motion”. If you don’t know what that is, you should discover it soon.

Ultimately, asPhil Colvin pointed out, every parish whether it has a significant youth presence or not, can minister ‘with’ and ‘to’ youth. One-to one mentorship programs, partnering with another church, your deanery, or your diocese to support youth  activities, or just showing hospitality to young people are examples of approaches. The Anglican parish in Cedar, outside Nanaimo, sponsors a community Young Life worker in partnership with their neighbouring United Church congregation. The Anglican congregation in Watson Lake, Yukon, works with fellow members of the Ministerial Association to plan summer camps and other events.

Several recommendations have been developed that are being forwarded to our bishops and diocesan councils as a result of Phil and Kristen’s presentation. Please support these kinds of initiatives:

  • that each diocese in the Province address the disparity of youth opportunities by supporting a policy development which would see larger dioceses support equalizing of opportunities for youth. Such initiatives may include a budget line item in diocesan budgets which deals with “provincial youth ministry travel and leadership development support”. We need to engage in cooperative and innovative travel arrangements to pool and minimize travel costs.
  • that there be intentional conversation among BC and Yukon Anglican camping ministries. Such conversation would draw these ministries closer together to share ideas and coordinate efforts.
  • that our camping ministries work with the ELCIC, recognizing that ELCIC youth are a potential source of camping ministry personnel.
  • that each parish in our diocesan constituencies be encouraged to contribute to the costs to send youth to gatherings such as CLAY, national leadership conferences,f and BCYAYM, establishing a regular budget line item.
  • that as part of diocesan youth ministry we adopt a mentorship approach to our youth based on a “each one teach one” model, particularly where youth groups do not exist – moving beyond ‘youth groups’ to nurturing young people in all parish settings.
Another recommendation grows out an initiative of the Vancouver School of Theology – its “Children and the Church”conference to be held February 4, 2012 with YouthFront youth ministry leader Jason Santos from Kansas City, Kansas:
  • that each diocese encourage attendance of key child and youth worker personnel, lay and ordained, at VST’s Children in the Church Conference as a major ministry development gathering for our Province. 
Good news! And we certainly have to seize the opportunities that are before us.
And thanks to Phil Colvin for his on-going excellent leadership of diocesan youth ministry.
Steve Bailey is a deacon at St. Laurence, Coquitlam and one of the administrators of nwanglicanblog. Your comments and contributions are always welcome!
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