Participants Gill and Tara dance around the centre of the circle as their group tells the story of the Exodus. ASK&IMAGINE

Initiatives focus on Anglican youth

In a bid to involve youth and young adults in the life of the Anglican church, two major initiatives took place this summer, which brought together young people from different dioceses and denominations for reflection and to experience the role of the church in communities.

Participants Gill and Tara dance around the centre of the circle as their group tells the story of the Exodus.  ASK&IMAGINE
Participants Gill and Tara dance around the centre of the circle as their group tells the story of the Exodus. ASK&IMAGINE

The first of these initiatives was the Food Justice Camp, held in Winnipeg Aug.15-21. The second was an Ask & Imagine leadership development program held at Huron University College in London, Ont., Aug.17-27.

About 40 people aged between 16 and 35 participated in the Food Justice Camp, under the theme Setting the Table: A Place For Everyone, and Every Place Honored.

Participants reflected on the economic, ecological, community, and faith dimensions of food and agriculture, by visiting five farming areas including mixed farming sites in Clearwater and near Brandon, a commercial fisheries site on Lake Manitoba, an organic market farm in St. Adolphe, and an urban food centre in Winnipeg.

The visits to the different farming sites were great immersion experiences for the participant. “We stayed in people’s homes in the community and for three days experienced and participated in their daily lives,” said Maylanne Maybee, General Synod coordinator of Justice Education and Networks.

The farming communities noted that the church is one of the few institutions that bridges the gap between rural and urban people, said Ms. Maybee.

The program also challenged participants to use food in building relationships, by engaging in activities that involve both the rural and urban communities such as, holding a farmers’ market at a church in the city, creating a program around stewardship of land, or introducing community kitchens where farmers provide produce and cook for the urban poor.

The Eco-Justice Committee of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Mennonite Central Committee, the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Food Grains Bank supported the camp.

The Food Justice Camp was the first in a series of “justice camps” directed at youth and young adults. Future justice camps are being planned.

The idea for the camps arose a year ago when members of the Eco-Justice Committee reflected on how they might capture the enthusiasm, energy, and idealism of young people for the Anglican church’s ministry of peace and justice.

The second initiative between Aug.17 and 27, was a leadership development program organized by Ask & Imagine.

“Ask & Imagine is more than just a camp, it is a 10-day opportunity to help youth in discovering who they are, their unique gifts for leadership, and provides an understanding of living out their Christian faith in their communities,” said Judy Steers, Ask & Imagine program director.

The program caters to young people in the Anglican church from all over Canada as well as young people from the U.S. Episcopal church.

Currently two programs are being offered for different age groups; the May program focuses on young adults between 18-24 years and the August program focuses on high school students.

Participants in the August program came from nine provinces and 11 dioceses across Canada. They explored theological ideas, scripture and looked at issues from a faith perspective.

“The youth take these experiences back to their local communities,” said Ms. Steers. “We also encourage the youth to stay in touch.” A number of Ask & Imagine participants have signed up for the pilot-project, Anglican’s Young People On-line (AYPO) an initiative by Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, the Anglican Primate, to enhance youth involvement in the church.

For further information on the Food Justice Camp please contact:
Laura Marie Piotrowicz
Food Justice Camp
935 Nesbitt Bay
Winnipeg, MB R3T 1W6
Tel: 204-992-4200
Email:[email protected]

For further information on Ask&Imagine please contact:
Judy Steers
Program Director – Ask & Imagine
Huron University College
Tel:905-892-8817 (direct line)
Email:[email protected]

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