Alexandra McIntosh is passionate about bringing youth and youth groups together, and her commissioning service as York-Credit Valley’s new area youth ministry coordinator perfectly reflected that.
The service, held at St. George on the Hill, Toronto on April 20, was created by youth, for youth. “Every part of it was a labour of love by youth from different parts of the York-Credit Valley area,” says Ms. McIntosh, who was assisted in the planning by the Rev. Andrew MacDonald, one of the episcopal area’s liturgical officers.
When they started planning the service, Ms. McIntosh knew she wanted it to be a celebration of youth ministry and to involve as many young people as possible. “If we were to make it a service for the youth of the area, what would it look like?” she wondered.
She talked with youth leaders and young people, asking them what their favourite – and least favourite – parts of the Eucharist service were, what they would do differently and what part they would like to have in it. She found enthusiasm for every aspect of the service.
“We asked people what they’d like to do, and they stepped forward,” she says. “What ended up happening was this beautiful service where everyone who was involved had their favourite part and made it their own.”
The gospel reading was dramatized by the youth group from All Saints, Kingsway, complete with costumes and a narrator. The prayers of the people were written by the youth group from St. John, West Toronto. Youth also served as readers, servers and eucharistic gift bearers.
Youth from eight churches took part in the service: All Saints, Kingsway, St. Mary and St. Martha, Toronto, St. George on the Hill, Christ Church, Brampton, St. Olave, Swansea, St. Martin in-the-Fields, Toronto, St. John, West Toronto and St. Paul the Apostle, Rexdale.
One of the highlights of the service was when all the youth were invited to stand and were asked by Bishop Jenny Andison, the area bishop, to make a commitment. Together they said, “We promise to be engaged with leadership and not let ourselves be pushed aside and forgotten because we are young. We will be an example to others and will expect to be represented fully as the Church right now, and the promise of something new just over the horizon.”
Ms. McIntosh says the service gave her great hope for York-Credit Valley. “A huge part of making events like this happen is building connections and relationships, so while it was a lot of work bringing it all together, everyone had an amazing time. A real momentum was started. There’s a lot of possibility and a lot of hope.”
Ms. McIntosh’s job is to equip and empower youth leaders and to help youth ministry flourish in their parishes. She is working with Bishop Andison to help the episcopal area discern its priorities and goals for youth ministry.
In addition to her job as the area youth ministry coordinator, Ms. McIntosh is the pastoral associate for youth and young adults at the Church of the Redeemer, Bloor Street. She is also studying for a Master of Theological Studies in Development degree at Wycliffe College.