Youth Synod 2019  — 30 years young

Sarah Bird

Youth Synod celebrated 30 years on April 12 and 13 by delegates and volunteers from across the diocese at the beautiful Christ’s Church Cathedral Hamilton. 

It was a surreal moment returning to Youth Synod after 16 years. As a teenager I attended this youth ministry event three years consecutively. 

This year in a different role, I reminisced about the moments where I found the courage to speak out for the first time on social justice issues that I was struggling with. 

Youth Synod was a source of inspiration for me in my adult life.

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Youth Synod members and leaders from across Niagara Diocese at the 30th annual gathering held this year in Christ’s Church Cathedral Hamilton. Photo: Sarah Bird

Over the last 30 years, Youth Synod has helped shape the landscape of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara. 

Greening Niagara came from a motion that was developed by youth in 2007. Today the Greening Committee offers parishes accreditations to promote greening practices that will help sustain and renew the earth. 

Another important piece of Youth Synod history that deserves acknowledgment are the early progressive conversations that fought to respect the dignity of every human being no matter gender or sexuality. These conversations date back as far as 20 years. 

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Deirdre Pike, newly appointed Diocesan Program Consultant for Social Justice and Outreach told the young people,“We must walk with two feet instead of just one, both charity and justice”. Photo: Sarah Bird

Delegates of Youth Synod 2019 said that the two days were exciting, thought provoking and hilariously fun. 

The Chancellor of Youth Synod, Bill Mous, stated, “delegates thoughtfully considered motions using a consensus-based approach. In a world which could well benefit from more civility in its discourse and debate, Youth Synod delegates offered a powerful witness by the way they engage with the issues of our day.” 

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Motions considered during the two-day Youth Synod included equitable education for Ontario students, eliminating single use plastics, increasing youth involvement and positive space training. Photo: Sarah Bird

Delegates were captivated and inspired by the keynote speaker, Deirdre Pike, who is the newly appointed Diocesan Program Consultant for Social Justice and Outreach. 

Deirdre spoke on the importance of being not only an ally for marginalized populations, but also an advocate and accomplice. “We must walk with two feet instead of just one, both charity and justice,” Deirdre explained. 

The young people who attended Youth Synod 2019 are not only leaders within their parishes, but also are very involved in their communities. 

Seven motions were brought forward during the consensus session. 

Motions such as equitable education for Ontario students, elimination of single use plastics, increasing youth involvement by visiting diocesan parishes and positive space training are a few passed by the consensus model. 

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Worship was central to all activities at Youth Synod with the young people sharing in the services. Photo: Sarah Bird

Delegates have been encouraged to go back to their parishes to talk about their experience and raise awareness of the issues discussed within their own congregation. 

With the support from our bishop, volunteers, clergy, lay workers and diocesan family, we believe that youth will continue to help shape the course of our diocese and congregations in the years to come. 

Sarah Bird 2018 from Dio FB-adjFor any information regarding Children, Youth and Family Ministry contact Sarah Bird below.  To find out more on youth ministry visit us at niagaraanglican.ca/youth