[written by our amazing youth delegate, Abby Cline]
As a youth delegate, I had to arrive for Synod one day earlier than the other delegates. We had a meeting that started today at 3pm and went until 8:30pm. The meeting started off with Caitlin Beck (from our diocese of New Westminster) leading us all in introduction games. After the introduction games, we had Simon (I'm not sure what his last name is) explain how General Synod works. He explained how motions work by creating his own "motion" that "Chocolate cake should be the dessert tonight". He then made an amendment to the motion that "Chocolate cake should be gluten free". Then he made an amendment to the amendment that "The chocolate is to be fair trade". The youth then had their own "mock" motion where we got to speak and have discussions. The motion that was created was "All bishops in Canada should be required to wear tea cozies". An amendment to the motion was "All bishops in Canada should be required to wear tea cozies made of wolf pelts"; however, this amendment did not pass. A reason that bishops should wear tea cozies was that "wearing tea cozies would make Bishops more approachable". The final amendment that passed was "All bishops are required to wear tea cozies with eyes on them".
After the mock motion we took a break and had dinner. During the dinner we had the General Secretary and the head of the scheduling committee talk to us in more detail about what will be happening at synod. After dinner, we had some people from The Truth and Reconciliation Commission come speak to us. We did the blanket exercise. Here is an explanation of the blanket exercise taken from kairosblanketexercise.org "Blanket Exercise participants take on the roles of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Standing on blankets that represent the land, they walk through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. They are directed by facilitators representing a narrator (or narrators) and the European colonizers. Participants are drawn into the experience by reading scrolls and carrying cards, which ultimately determine their outcomes. By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates and increases empathy. Ideally, the exercise is followed by a debriefing session in which participants have the opportunity to discuss the experience as a group. This often takes the form of a talking circle."
After the blanket exercise we sat in a circle and talked about what we experienced. I was one of the few that "survived" the exercise. Throughout the exercise all I could think of was "Why" and "How" could we do this to other people. Although I cannot rewrite the past, I can work towards building better and stronger relations with Indigenous peoples. Today has been a great first day at General Synod. I have already met lots of amazing people and can't wait to meet more. As of right now, friends and I are heading down to the pool to relax and connect more with each other.
Photo: (via Anglican Journal) youth delegates take part in the blanket exercise