Youth find B.C. trip is worth it

The Anglican
 on October 1, 2014

Diocese sends first team

When I first met with the Rev. Dawn Leger, the chair of the Archbishop’s Youth Ministry Team, and the other youth leaders in the diocese, I only knew a few things about CLAY (Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth). I knew that it was a bi-annual gathering for Lutheran and Anglican youth, ages 13 to 17, from across the country, and that it was going to be held Aug. 14-17 in British Columbia.

At that initial meeting, I learned that the goal of the National Youth Project (an initiative of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada) was to raise $20,000 for “Right to Water.” This provides potable drinking water and sanitation facilities to one home in Pikangikum, Ont.

To my surprise, I also learned that this was going be the first team from the Diocese of Toronto going to CLAY. I saw this opportunity as a great honour and a great responsibility.

And so, the planning began to get the first team from the diocese to CLAY in Kamloops, B.C. on Aug. 14. Throughout the whole process, I clearly felt that God was with us, and that he had already worked out a plan to make sure we got there. I saw God’s presence in the support I received from my home parish, from the leadership provided by Dawn, and from the generous donations from Archbishop Colin Johnson, the participating area councils, parishes and deaneries, and from other generous donors, all of whom made this adventure possible.

I knew that God was with us, but I must confess that I was a bit nervous about going across the country with the youth who had been entrusted to my care. Nonetheless, my fears were put aside immediately because I knew that I was going on this journey with an amazing group of talented and experienced youth leaders.

During CLAY, I continually felt God’s presence as I participated in the large group gathering (a time for spiritual reflection), the ministry project of liturgical dance, and the various road trips. Most importantly, I got to spend time with truly amazing Christian youth from across Canada, in particular the youth from our diocese. Being in close contact with more than 700 Christian youth and listening to their experiences, questions and doubts, allowed me to further understand that my role as a youth leader is to be a companion to our youth as they discover their own worthiness.

As I reflect upon the theme of the gathering – “Worth It” – I wonder how I can remember, when faced with challenges and feelings of not being good enough or not measuring up, that I am worthy. I wonder how I can better relate to others and treat them in a way that allows them to rediscover or remember that they are worthy; that we are all worthy, and that our worthiness comes from God. I am excited to begin to share what I learned.

I am truly grateful for CLAY 2014 and the staff at Thompson River University, for all the work they did to organize this amazing conference. I want to thank everyone in the Diocese of Toronto who supported us. Thanks to St. Peter, Erindale, for hosting the diocese’s team the night before our departure and making sure we got to Pearson airport on time. I also want to thank the youths’ parents for helping with fundraising, and the team leaders – Brianna Locke, Andrea Morrison, Jon Dykeman, Rosemary MacAdam, and the Rev. Dawn Leger, our fearless spiritual leader. Last but not least, I want to thank the youth from the diocese – Erik Patterson, Lydia Keesmat-Walsh, Ireneh Omere, Aliya Whyte, Tiffany McKay and Alycia DeFrias – for being such great troopers and for their willingness to serve one another. My desire is that as we get back to the hustle and bustle of our modern life, we remember that we are worth it!


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