For the first time ever, the 2010 Mennonite Church Canada assembly will include youth ambassadors as participants in delegate sessions.
“Youth are an integral part of the church,” says MC Canada youth ministries facilitator Anna Rehan. “We need to hear their voices as we shape the future of our denomination. We want to tap into their vision and energy, and we need the help of individual congregations to make this possible.”
Congregations are encouraged to shoulder-tap interested youths and provide mentors who will guide them through the registration process and assembly proceedings. As an incentive, youth ambassadors will qualify for a reduced registration rate, that congregations are encouraged to help them pay.
Youth ambassadors will take part in delegate discussions and activities—with the exception of voting—which is limited by MC Canada bylaws to delegates who are congregational members. They will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of other events, including late night activities and a peace art workshop with Ray Dirks, curator of the Mennonite Heritage Gallery in Winnipeg.
“Youth have an incredible capacity to pull together on projects and issues,” Rehan says. “We see that every other year when the youth assembly is held. We’d like to help them maintain their momentum and enthusiasm between youth assemblies. We can only benefit from their participation.”
Kathy Giesbrecht, youth pastor at Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg and associate director of leadership ministries for MC Manitoba, is encouraged by this move. “The presence of youth changes and challenges us, providing us with gifts only they can bring,” she says. “When they are with us, we are better.”
Youth ambassadors will use the adult registration form to register, which will soon be posted online at mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/1249.
The next MC Canada youth assembly will take place in 2011.