The Ask & Imagine youth programs and youth initiatives of the Anglican Church of Canada got an early Christmas present this year.
The Ask & Imagine program office received word last week of a matching grant made by the Lilly Endowment Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana. The grant gives more than CAN$400,000 (US$ 348,430) during the next four years in matching funds to what is contributed by the church, the college, individual donors and supporters across the country to sustain the Ask & Imagine programs and associated youth initiatives for the long term.
Since 1999, the Faculty of Theology at Huron University College has offered theological exploration, ministry skills formation and leadership development to Anglican youth through the Ask & Imagine summer youth programs. These were originally made possible by grants from the Lilly Endowment under their grants program "Theological Education with High School Youth." In 1999, Huron was selected as one of 24 seminaries across North America to receive a grant to develop and initiate such a program.
More than 180 youth and young adults, aged 1426, from across Canada have participated since the programs began. In 2004, Huron and the Ask & Imagine program officially partnered with the Anglican Church of Canada in a collaborative relationship to support the Anglican Church's identified vision for youth leadership development.
One related project that is planned is a National Youth Ministry Symposium in 2008. This will be a 5-day gathering of Anglican youth, youth leaders, clergy and youth ministry staff; the first in more than 15 years. Canon George Porter, youth action director in the Diocese of Fredericton and member of the Ask & Imagine advisory board, said: "I have been hoping to get something like this conference going for a long time; it is so exciting to think that this might actually happen." Youth ministry staff from various dioceses has had preliminary planning meetings for the event in anticipation of this seed funding. Plans include travel cost support so that the event is equally accessible from anywhere in the country.
Further information about Ask & Imagine is available at http://www.askandimagine.org.
Those interested in finding out more about youth initiatives or interested in supporting them are invited to contact Judy Steers at firstname.lastname@example.org.