Seeing youth ministry grow is exciting

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 on November 1, 2021

Ian PhysickIan Physick is the area youth ministry coordinator for the York-Scarborough episcopal area. He also serves on the Bishop’s Youth Ministry Committee (BYMC).

My duties are varied, but essentially I work at helping to coordinate area youth ministry events and to connect, encourage and uplift fellow youth ministry leaders in the York-Scarborough area. I meet with individual leaders and try to see the best way we can support them within their respective youth ministry spheres. I also meet regularly with clergy – through clericus meetings, area council meetings, Synod and on an individual level – to see how to support the potential building up of youth ministry within a prospective church. On a more macro level, the aim is to bring attention to matters pertaining to youth ministry within the Diocese of Toronto and hopefully throughout the Anglican Church of Canada.

I am really excited about the upcoming Theological Day that we are working on for this winter. Thanks to the hard work of many who have come before me, such as Ali McIntosh, Cormac Culkeen and many more, we have been able to become more closely linked to our fine Anglican-based university institutions, Trinity College and Wycliffe College. Our previous Theological Days, both in-person and virtually, have been a resounding success as we have explored what it means to be a historical and sacramental church, and allowed leaders to ask often tough and challenging theological questions. I am also excited about some of the work that is being done in individual churches as they plan youth ministry within their respective parishes.

The best part of my job is seeing an event unfold and seeing teenagers and youth leaders engrossed in it. The BYMC is made up of a great team of people who always make the event-planning and the actual event a blast! Also, seeing a church’s youth ministry grow is quite rewarding and exciting.

Probably the most challenging part of my job is sometimes getting laity and others to see the importance and validity of doing and investing in sound ministry. However, I will say that over the last two to three years, I have witnessed a great shift of support in general for youth ministry and nurturing it within the wider Church.

I was born in Toronto and raised as a child in Mississauga prior to moving to North York in the latter part of 1988. I am the son of two loving parents, the Rev. Canon Gregory Physick and the late Susan Physick, and I have a twin sister, Devon, who resides on the East Coast with family. I work, and have worked, in various social service organizations throughout the GTA, primarily in group homes and day programs for vulnerable youth and young adults.

I was raised in the Church, with the belief in a loving, forgiving and compassionate God. My father was, and still is, one of the main influences on my spiritual walk. In the midst of some national calamity or controversy, my father would often say that God was “bigger than it all.” This was one of many sayings that served me well in my faith formation.  

I took several religion courses while studying at the University of Toronto and had the privilege to study under some wonderful professors who taught me to challenge, explore and examine my thoughts and beliefs. I especially have an appreciation for the Orthodox and Anglo-Catholic expressions of our great faith, and they have undoubtably influenced my outlook on spiritual matters. Several clergy were also very helpful to me over the years and encouraged my spiritual walk, namely the late Fr. Ron Scott, Fr. Bill Kibblewhite, Fr. Vernal Savage and Fr. Dean Mercer.

At my own church, I was becoming more involved in assisting with youth ministry activities, and I was also the Synod rep on a few occasions, so this aided in deepening my understanding of life in the Church and beyond. I also had the privilege of connecting with Christian Harvey, who helped me learn more about what youth ministry looked like within the Church at the time.

One day while working at a local youth center, I happened to run into Jillian Ruch, who I knew from her work in youth ministry circles. Jillian and I connected a few more times and eventually I was fortunate to work alongside her as a fellow York-Scarborough area ministry coordinator.

In five years, I see myself still working in social/human services in some capacity. While I’m not exactly sure where that road will lead, I have faith that new, exciting challenges will abound. The drive and desire to help and support people in pain is probably the biggest catalyst for me.

The scripture that often holds a special place in my heart is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I think that working in the realm of youth ministry, and in life in general, one can at times feel discouraged, and this passage is almost a mantra for me as I remember from whom that power flows and that Christ’s infinite grace, love and mercy are always present. 


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