When the pandemic hit in 2020, “everyone had to pivot,” says Sheilagh McGlynn.
The animator of youth ministries for the Anglican Church of Canada says when the in-person Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth (CLAY) gathering in Calgary had to be postponed, undaunted organizers decided to offer the young people something online.
The resulting event “was very CLAY-like, featuring speakers, skits and music,” and was well attended and received.
Later in 2020 a Zoom “call-out” meeting attracted about 20 youth leaders, who planned, played games, and shared ideas on how to keep the youth mission moving in trying conditions. McGlynn says the event was a great way for youth leaders—all impacted by the pandemic—to learn how others were coping, and getting by.
In November, the Stronger Together youth leadership training program, carried out with the Lutherans, moved online. The new format attracted triple the usual turnout, McGlynn reports.
Another silver lining to the pandemic was the fact that Archbishop Linda Nicholls, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, was personally available for online meetings with young people and leaders. “She met with so many youth leaders, youth groups, campus ministers and confirmation classes, and it was really touching for them to hear from the primate,” she says. “She really values the work they are doing.”
“The pandemic highlighted how necessary the youth ministry is for our Church,” concludes McGlynn. It has caused isolation and mental health problems for young people, and it is essential to make them aware that the Church “is there for them,” she says.
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