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A phone call in December raised some good questions for Lauren Pinkney, Chair of the Diocesan Youth Movement and Jessica Schaap, Missioner for Christian Formation. How could Youth Delegates to Synod be empowered and encouraged in their faith formation and leadership in the local parish?

Youth delegates are parishioners between the ages of 15 and 25 who are members of a parish for at least one year and have been nominated and elected or appointed by a parish vestry. As synod delegates they have membership in a parish council and attend the bi-annual synod of the diocese of New Westminster where they are voting members of the synod.

Youth delegates have some special programming during Synod itself, but how were they best nurtured in parish involvement? Was it fair to expect them at every parish council meeting? Were they enjoying, contributing to, and being formed by the parish council meetings they attended? After some conversation with the whole membership of the Diocesan Youth Movement, the following recommendations were generated. They are offered in a spirit of encouragement and openness to learning how parishes who find these questions relevant to them are forming young leaders.

  • Remove barriers for youth attending meetings by lowering expected number of meetings to be attended.
  • Consider holding a Parish Council Retreat morning/afternoon/day to build relationship and pray together shortly after the election of a new council at Vestry
  • Ensure youth are welcomed, and feel at home in the meetings, anything from checking in, to good snacks, to making space for questions.
  • Make space on the agenda for youth to bring up things and give feedback in an informal way.
  • Consider the pre-work and pre-reading expectations for meetings, how can these be adjusted to make space for all ages and reading abilities.
  • Connect a young person with an appropriate and experienced council member “mentor” for support before, during and after the meeting. 
  • Consult with the young person about the best location, time and medium for meetings. 

The next regularly scheduled Synod for the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster is May 14 and 15, 2021. The location and how the Synod will be conducted are both TBA and will depend largely on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Orders of the Provincial Health Officer.


Youth Delegates Luncheon, May 25, 2019