A word to the Canadian church from Generation 2008

Generation 2008 was the Anglican Church of Canada’s first national youth ministry forum, held in London, Ont. from June 10 to 15. The conference aimed to empower, renew, and equip all those working with youth, through workshops, speakers, conversations, and lively worship.

At the close of the conference, representatives of Generation 2008 decided to share the conference highlights with the rest of the Canadian church. The text of their message follows.

Our sisters and brothers in Christ, greetings in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

We are members of the conference Generation 2008, which gathered in London, Ont., from June 10-15. We are 164 Anglicans from 27 of the 30 dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada, as well as members from the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior. We range in age from 16 to 75; we are professional youth workers, parish volunteers, chaplains, Anglican Camp staff, national church staff, clergy, laity and members of the House of Bishops, including our Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz and National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald.

In our open space day and the follow up, we participated in nearly 30 different conversation groups, where topics ranged from justice and peace initiatives to girls’ ministry, from issues of body image to strategic planning, from worship styles to camp ministries, from training for professional youth workers to supporting ministry for young people in rural areas. The passion we all share—the passion that unites us—is a conviction that youth ministry must be integrated into the whole life of the church.

We gathered to equip, empower, and renew ourselves and the church for this critical ministry. Drawing on the passion that emerged from our time together at Generation 2008, we will strive to raise awareness of, and engagement in, youth ministry across our church and our country. We will accomplish this through the many interests, skills, and remarkable commitment of all participants gathered in London.

We as a conference claim responsibility for, and invite all members of the church to share with us in meeting the challenges of providing training, staffing, and financial resources, and above all, of developing a shared vision for youth ministry. Our challenges are considerable. To face them will require perseverance from all who value the ministry of, for, and by youth in our church. These challenges we lay at the feet of all Anglicans in the country.

God is calling us to a number of next steps. We are excited about the Youth Initiatives Task Force and call on the Council of General Synod to heartily listen to the ambitious recommendations of this group in November 2008. We call on the council, indeed, the whole church, to give the Youth Initiatives Task Force the time, commitment, and energy it deserves as it advocates on behalf of the youth of our church.

The Spirit has moved us to take tangible next steps in the parishes and camps of our dioceses. We see these next steps as a house built upon a rock that will lead to preparation and implementation of this ministry. . Like the fig tree in the vineyard, this work will require cultivating, tending, and nurturing in order to bear fruit that will last.

Ultimately, we believe we have walked with Jesus this week, assured of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst. We return from Generation 2008 to our parishes, dioceses, homes and work places which reach across our country, confident that the same Spirit will guide our beloved church as we all join together in giving glory to God, and in passing on the Gospel entrusted to us by Jesus, from generation to generation.

We remain, faithfully yours in Youth Ministry,

The Participants of Generation 2008

This statement was drafted and read at the final plenary gathering at the Generation 2008 Conference and received a standing ovation by all participants.

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