“Some people say youth are our future,” says Sheilagh McGlynn, National Youth Animator for the Anglican Church of Canada. “I think they are our present as well…they really care about our church.”
In June 2019, 25 Anglican and Lutheran youth leaders gathered in Calgary to share ideas and means to support youth across the country. They addressed ways to help young people determine their vocation in this world and answer the question, who is God calling me to be? They participated in team building and leadership education.
The team building and leadership development continued in July 2019, at General Synod in Vancouver. Anglican youth delegates came together a day-and-a-half prior to General Synod, to get to know the procedures and participate in community building. A session with prolocutor Cynthia Haines-Turner provided answers to questions and interest in understanding the issues at General Synod. A session on the Rules of Order equipped the delegates on how to prepare, speak and vote on motions coming to the floor. They also had the opportunity to explore Vancouver with an Indigenous Walk through Stanley Park, ending with an outdoor Eucharist.
In August 2020, hundreds of young people and leaders came together to connect online. This was the first virtual gathering of Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth (CLAY) and it provided youth across the country a much-needed opportunity to connect, learn, worship and celebrate together in this time of distance and isolation.
A larger virtual conference is being planned for August 2021. The hope is that by then, youth groups will be able to gather and experience CLAY together in their home communities. Sheilagh states, “CLAY will have the same elements as when we gather in person – large group gathering time, presentations from a keynote speaker, performances from the music and drama team, a servant leadership event, education sessions, and worship.”