UPDATE: Youth Assembly 2016 has been cancelled, due to a shortfall in the number of registrations. See here for more information.
Kirsten Hamm-Epp says Saskatchewan has a reputation for hosting terrific gatherings, and planners for the Mennonite Church Canada Youth Assembly 2016, Faith-God-People (aka #thecovenantcrew) are eager to continue the trend. “People are really excited to host this event here in Saskatoon,” says MC Saskatchewan’s area church minister for youth programming.
The event is designed to explore the many ways God continually invites us to board the ship and be part of the everlasting covenant. The youth gathering coincides with MC Canada’s general assembly, God-Faith-People, July 6 to 10, 2016, at TCU Place in downtown Saskatoon.
Hamm-Epp and other Youth Assembly 2016 planners are striving to provide youth with activities they can get excited about: a pool party, crazy fun gym games, a campfire complete with a marshmallow roast, and space for their voices to be heard.
Hamm-Epp emphasizes there will also be intentional times that bring adults and youth together. “Youth aren’t just the future of the church, they are part of the church now,” she says. “There are important discussions going on in the church and youth need to be a part of that.”
Planners are bringing youth up-to-speed on the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) process and Future Directions Task Force discussions in advance of Assembly 2016, under the leadership of Moses Falco, pastor at Sterling Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. Each morning, youth will have a chance to further discuss matters on the adult assembly agenda for the day.
Churches are encouraged to register one official youth delegate and have multiple youth attend the BFC and Future Directions sessions, so that they can contribute to the discussions.
“We are encouraging youth groups to use the pre-assembly curriculum, which will be sent out in April,” Hamm-Epp says. “This will give them time to discuss their views well ahead of the event with their entire group. Those who take part in the discussion sessions can then participate as representatives of all the youth in their congregation.”
“The votes we’re having this summer will have a big impact on our future church family,” Hamm-Epp says. “Not to have youth involved in this process would be a missed opportunity. From what I’ve seen here in Saskatchewan and across the country, our youth want to be involved. I think that especially at this assembly the adults need to hear youth voices and the youth need to hear what the adults are saying.”
To the youth, she says, “Here’s your opportunity. Take it. Come and be involved.”