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Deputies approve resolution on training leadership for youth

By James Thrall
8/5/2003
[Episcopal News Service] 

With little debate, and in the context of a budget priority highlighting ministry with youth and young adults, deputies overwhelmingly approved a resolution Tuesday that would request $3 million for training programs and resources for ministers working with younger age groups.

The resolution (A077) states that the General Convention should “adopt a vision as part of the 20/20 initiative that there shall be effective, well-organized ministries with children, youth and young adults in every congregation where appropriate” and “campus ministries in all colleges and universities where appropriate.”

The resolution also commends the Ministries With Young People Cluster, which now includes three ministry networks — youth ministries, Christian education ministries and higher education ministries — and directs it to create an additional network for young adult ministries. The Ministries With Young People Cluster also is directed to work with the Standing Commission on Domestic Mission and Evangelism as well as provincial networks to pursue such training strategies as education in leadership development; sharing of technology, training resources, curricula, theological and multicultural resources; practical application for lifelong Christian formation; and strengthening existing networks in dioceses and provinces.

The requested funding would allocate $250,000 per each year of the triennium for each of the four ministry networks.

Linden Prickett, 17, a member of the official youth presence from Province VI, and one of two young people who spoke in favor of the resolution, said that while Sunday School was very important to her as a child, she had to turn to other churches for youth programs after elementary school. “Episcopal youth have to be able to look to our churches to help them with their faith journeys,” she said.

Kelsey Kemp, 17, a member of the official youth presence from Province VII, said that youth leaders wanting to work with young people may be well-intentioned and committed, but still “untrained and clueless about how to be youth leaders.” By offering direction in how they might help shape young people to be “disciples to make new disciples,” she said, the resolution fulfills the General Convention’s stated goal of making young adults a “top priority.”

The Rev. David K. Ottsen of Northern Indiana, a member of the evangelism committee that proposed the resolution, acknowledged that “I do not bear a youthful face.” He stressed, however, that “I bear a zeal for evangelism and a zeal in particular for this resolution.” The committee worked “extremely hard” to revise the resolution to reflect a variety of youth concerns. “Though it bears a seemingly high price tag,” he noted, “I would offer to you that it is a small amount and commitment to those who follow in the future, and those who follow now, and those who are eager to hear and to know about Jesus our Lord.”