Alex Starr and Jessica Pearson give part of the youth presentation at Diocesan Synod, while Samantha Cawker (at right) provides sound effects.
SYNOD 2005: Youth spice up Synod

By Samantha Cawker
Christ Church Cathedral

We see it in the narrowed eyes of the older bus rider when a crowd of chattering young people boards transit. We see it in the drugstore from the clerk when a group of girls take too long in the makeup aisle. We see it on the front page of the Province when a headline screams out, "Roving youth gang strikes again."

There is an implicit assumption that groups of teens are usually up to no good, and this stereotype can dominate social perceptions of youth unless evidence is offered that challenges it. Unfortunately, the media loves news about youths gone bad more than it loves the (many more) tales about young people who are doing positive things, and this is reflected in many of the stories it reports.

This year at the General Synod meeting, a group of young people and youth leaders decided it was time to tell some stories of their own.

They asked the Diocese for time on the floor to speak to those gathered about the amazing energy, growth, and spirituality of the hundreds of youth participating in their parishes. Their request was granted, a special privilege since they were one of the few groups allowed to give a presentation.

"It's good to increase awareness of how important youth are," said teen emcee Alex Starr. "Youth are both the present and the future of the church."

Several youth worked to organize the content of the presentation, which included a slideshow of activities in the diocese, a report on the Guatemala Pilgrimage, an introduction of WAYNet, the youth workers' network, and a word from Camp Artaban. "This is great," said Starr's fellow emcee Jess Pearson.

"I'm glad that we have this time at Synod, and that people can see where their donations go when it comes to youth. So much about youth ministry is positive."

Art Matheny, youth pastor at Holy Trinity, Vancouver
Holy Trinity, Vancouver, seeks transformation in youth

By Art Matheny,
Youth Pastor, Holy Trinity, Vancouver

In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul advises his readers not to "conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but [to] be transformed by the renewing of [their] mind." The end-result, he promises, is that they will then "be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2 - NIV).

One of the main goals of our youth programmes at Holy Trinity is to create an environment where this life-changing process can take place, as students grow in personal and corporate knowledge and experience through the indwelling Spirit of God.

So whatever we do - whether we are watching a movie, playing, singing, discussing Scripture or interacting with the liturgy - our communal desire is to be transformed by the living God.

We meet Sunday mornings for Bible Study during our 9.15 am service, and then in two separate groups on Thursday evenings (Grades 9-12) and every other Friday evening (Grades 6-8) for creative interaction and discussion.

Our youth ministry focuses upon building relationships through various activities and attempting to understand how we can live out our faith. When youth grow in their relationship with God, their whole world is affected and so the transformation that begins in them can be passed on to others.

This is the hope and joy of youth ministry at Holy Trinity, Vancouver - watching the world change through one person at a time.