This summer Nick Pang, a 21-year-old McGill student, will rub elbows with the bishops of the Anglican Communion.
Just a few weeks ago Nick was chosen to be a youth steward at the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference, where the 800 or so bishops of the Anglican Communion will gather at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. The theme of Lambeth 2008 is “Equipping Bishops to Fulfill Their Leadership Role in God’s Mission.”
Between 60 and 70 stewards, drawn from across the Communion, will help keep Lambeth running. Their tasks include sorting and distributing mail, helping with hospitality, and guiding people on campus. Their program will run from July 8 to Aug. 9, with one week of preparation, 20 days of Lambeth conference, and then four days of program with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
The youth stewards program began in 1978, when Lambeth moved to a university campus. Usually the provinces pay for the stewards’ transportation, then Lambeth provides lodging, some social events, and even £150 of pocket money.
This is an ideal opportunity for Nick, who not only studies international development and religion, but also wants to go into ministry with the Anglican church.
“The chance to get to Lambeth is pretty exciting,” he said in a recent phone interview. “A lot of my aspirations for ministry are in an international context. It will be a chance to meet people from around the world, and a chance to understand the polity of the church better. It will be a really good experience to have!”
Nick’s journey to Lambeth began when Judy Steers, Coordinator of Youth Initiatives at General Synod, emailed him the youth steward application form. She recognized that Nick—bilingual, between 20 to 35, and an engaged Anglican—was an ideal candidate. Nick acted fast: he got a reference letter from his bishop and shot off the application right away.
He was in the McGill Religious Studies lounge when his acceptance email arrived three weeks later. “I was pretty excited,” he laughed. “It was 8:30 in the morning, and I was jumping around a little bit.”
Nick’s on a high right now, but too busy with classes to start on his personalized Lambeth reading list—he will tackle that in April. “I want to brush up on the history of the church and Anglican identity,” he explained.
Many Anglicans have already met Nick, who’s become quite involved with the Anglican church after only three years of attendance. He has worked with Cross Talk camping ministries and serves on several councils at his home parish of St. George (in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue). He also attended the Environmental Justice Camp last May, and was a youth delegate at General Synod.
“There was such a diversity of opinions at General Synod that people wouldn’t expect to see coming from youth,” said Nick. “So I’ll be interested to see what happens outside the country as well.”
Many others are interested in seeing Lambeth through Nick’s eyes. Check out the Anglican Church of Canada’s youth website for more information closer to the Lambeth launch on July 16.
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