Ten young adults from across the nationwide church will take part in the Young Leaders Experience (YLE) at “We declare: What we have seen and heard,” Mennonite Church Canada’s gathering in Edmonton, from July 28 to Aug. 1.
“The initiative comes out of a desire to identify and invest in the young leaders among us,” says Kathy Giesbrecht, director of congregational ministries for Mennonite Church Manitoba and one of the initial planners. “The purpose of YLE is to invite young peoples’ perspectives, insights and deep concerns into our nationwide conversations and discernment.”
Participants, aged 17-23, from across the regional churches of MC Canada will take part in Gathering 2022’s main sessions, engage with MC Canada denominational leaders and engage in activities on their own throughout the weekend, to build connection and fellowship with one another. The participants are also delegates and will have voting power in Gathering 2022’s business sessions.
“The formation of leaders within our denomination is a priority for Mennonite Church Canada,” says executive minister Doug Klassen. “It’s not only crucial to inspire our future pastors and lay leaders, it’s also biblical. Jethro and Moses, Eli and Samuel, Elizabeth and Mary—God is at work when we share life together.”
Four hosts will guide YLE participants throughout the weekend: Phil Campbell-Enns and YLE coordinator Larissa Pahl, both from MC Manitoba; Liam Kachkar from MC Alberta and Christen Kong from MC Eastern Canada.
YLE programming kicks off on July 28, at the Evario Events Centre, with a welcome and worship time. Participants will participate in their own workshop on the morning of July 29 and attend Glen Guyton’s plenary at “A Day for Spiritual Leaders” at Edmonton First Mennonite Church in the afternoon. They will also facilitate the main Gathering 2022 workshop, “Young leaders give voice to the church,” on the afternoon of July 30, and two local festivals in Edmonton are also on the YLE agenda.
The young adults will also be the Scripture readers throughout the weekend’s programmed worship.
“We are excited to welcome our young leaders to Gathering 2022 this summer,” says Pahl. “We want this to be an enriching, integrated and fun experience for them.”
Funds for YLE come out of MC Canada’s Formation Bequest Fund, a fund designated for leadership development within the nationwide church.