Provincial Youth Council (PYC), in it’s bold efforts to get our Church to recognise the voice of the young people, as well as to involve young people at all levels of leadership and decision making, tabled a motion at Provincial Synod 2016 which reads as follows (we include a meaning for clarification – see text in italics) :
This Provincial Synod – September 2016
- Congratulates the youth who made a significant impact at ACC-16 and for influencing the resolutions for Provinces to include more young people in decision making and programmes; and,
- Celebrates the importance of young people in God’s mission and their witness to the Gospel in a world marked by deep divisions, inequality, injustice and poverty; and
MEANS : The Biblical model is that children and young people can also play a key role in God’s mission in the world as they should be able to be credible witnesses to God’s love and compassion not only for themselves, but also for mankind.
- Acknowledges their energy, creativity and determination in evangelism, mission and discipleship, and, in their baptismal commitment for service in the world;
MEANS : young people have the critical abilities like energy, creativity, innovation and determination in order to play a key role in evangelism, mission and discipleship and can contribute significantly to the planning and execution of strategies and initiatives that will put these into practice.
- Challenges our Province to include at least 25% young people in the decision-making processes and programmes at Parish, Diocesan and Provincial levels, as well as full involvement in the implementation of initiatives, and
MEANS : young people must enjoy at least a 25% representation on committees that impact and affect the ministry to young people. This includes Parish Church Council (PCC), initiatives for mission, evangelism and discipleship, spiritual formation and development (Christian Education), etc. Canonically, young people who are Confirmed are eligible to attend Vestry meetings (to both speak as well as to vote) and thereby, are able to be elected to Parish Council.
- Respectfully requests that Dioceses report by the next PSC of their progress and that it should be fully implemented by the next Provincial Synod in 2019; and
MEANS : implementation of this resolution is effective immediately and that delegates to the 2017 PSC should provide some feedback at to early implementation. This resolution should be fully implemented in every Diocese by Provincial Synod in 2019.
- Commits to finding ways to include and involve more young people in the life and work of the church and providing education and training for potential young leaders.
MEANS : Parishes (including the young people) should be actively and consistently involved in determining how more young people can be involved in the life and work of the church, and to provide opportunities for them to both learn how to do the job, as well as to actually practice those skills.
Proposer : Bishop Dintoe Letloenyane (Liaison Bishop for Children and Youth)
Seconder : Revd C S Frans (Provincial Youth Chaplain)
SO, HOW DOES THIS BECOME A REALITY IN OUR DIOCESES AND PARISHES?
Things we can do – regarding general development of the youth :
- Clergy should discern who the young leadership are and recruit them into a course on church leadership and churchmanship.
- Clergy are to identify future leaders from those who have completed their Confirmation year. Confirmands must be explained that on their Confirmation, they will be eligible to qualify to stand for election to Parish Council.
- Clergy must also train them on the processes and procedures of the Anglican Church, how they work and how they are used in mission, ministry and administration.
Things we can do – regarding getting elected to Parish Council :
- Clergy can train the young leadership on what Canon 28 is all about and to encourage them to attend Vestry meeting.
- Clergy can ensure that during Vestry, the right proportion candidates are elected to Parish Council (25% or more, must be youth).
- Parish Council must consider coopting 2 or more young apprentices for a year onto Council so that they can learn the ropes (in the case where they are still not confident enough of being full members of Council). These apprentices will have speaking rights, but not voting rights on the Council.
Things we can do – regarding general involvement in the Church initiatives and projects:
- Identify, invite and involve young people in Parish initiatives like missions, outreaches, projects, etc. and allow them to be part of the decision making process, the planning and organising process, as well as being involved in the execution process.
- Get young people to organise meaningful events, such as a children or senior citizens party. Or, let the adults take them with them on hospital and home visits, etc. This will present opportunities for adults to see potential future leaders in action and make their election to Parish Council a lot easier.
- Full advantage must be taken of the young people’s creativity, innovation and energy, and they must also be entrusted with responsibility and accountability.
- Young leaders will need a mentor each to help and encourage them on their leadership development journey. Constant feedback on their progress will be necessary.
Remember, the best leadership training, is through mentoring. Implement a large scale mentoring programme in the Parish to ensure all young people have been through a mentoring period at some stage. Confirmation year is the ideal time to do this.
You are welcome to add additional ideas in the comments, below.
God bless you as you mobilise and involve the young people at all levels within the Church and beyond.
Provincial Youth Coordinator