Saturday, 31 May 2014
An Epistle to the Church... from the young people and young adults gathered for Young Sojourners 2014
Over the May long Weekend the group of youth, young adults and leaders who gathered at Sorrento Centre for the Young Sojourners weekend wrote an epistle to the Church. You'll find the complete letter here:
To the Church of God in this place, to those who have been made holy to God in Christ Jesus, who are called to be God's people.
Grace to you and peace from God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We write to you as a body of young people called into life and witness, a people of faith who are vibrant, varied and passionate. We write to you as the Church, in thanksgiving for youth leaders who understand, adults who act like kids, for dancing, for a community with a deep history, where people of all generations meet. For Jesus who is present in youth and Church gatherings. By these we are united as the Body of Christ.
We implore you, continue in these good works. Do not segregate people by age, keeping young and old apart from each other. Bring people together in work and worship as one body. As young people, we feel pressured by other people's expectations, but not welcome to come as we are. We feel called to use the breadth and depth of our own God given talents and gifts, however the invitations are few.
While we have gathered at the Sorrento Centre this weekend we have explored the themes of freedom and heroes in the context of the Church and our lives. As part of that exploration, we watched a music video for the song Free by Rudimental feat. Emeli Sandé. In the video a young person who is being bullied finds freedom through the invitation of a falconer and by witnessing the flight of a hawk.
Within our Church communities there are falconers who've left their mark on our lives. Some of their actions have been small, seemingly insignificant, but they have helped us take flight.
These people have reached out to us with their many gifts, taken our hand and guided us.
The actions and attributes of these leaders have brought us full inclusion and healing. They have awakened hope in us and helped us listen to God's call. Through the shared wisdom of all generations and all understandings we can imagine the Church and through cooperative action we can live out God's call.
We have many interests, talents and passions through which we can be of service for the building up of the Church. We want to be invited in.
This is how we wish someone would invite us to participate:
We want to be invited into worship. We want to be creators and not just consumers of worship. We want to sing, act, dance, draw, write, compose, and make worship that is creative and engaging. We want to preach about how God is active in our lives and about where God is inviting us all into the story. We can read and serve alongside ministers of all ages. We can make a worship space that is aesthetically inspiring and beautiful. We can make bulletins for worship. We can play and chose the music that we use in worship. We want to explore with you what contemporary and relevant worship could be: to bless pets, to invite older people to make crafts with us as a part of the service, to have disco church, to use rap and comedy and drama.
We want to be invited into outreach ministries. To serve at the Mustard Seed, community meals, to build relationships and be an encouraging presence to people around us. We want to create new opportunities for community outreach through learning about each others' projects like cafes in Church basements and the blessing of the wheels for emergency response vehicles and personal transport.
We want to be invited into programs. We are interested in many different things and we want to learn. Don't assume that we aren't interested or aren't able to participate. We can lead VBS and Sunday School and redefine mission trips.
We want to be invited into spiritual formation. We want bible studies that take our schedule into consideration – before or after school. We want deeper spiritual formation that addresses difficult questions and doesn't seek to give easy answers. We want to engage in the ancient practices of our faith and actively learn through pilgrimage.
We want to be invited into organization. We want you to acknowledge that young people also have diverse perspectives on faith and life – THERE IS NOT JUST ONE YOUTH PERSPECTIVE. We want to be involved in decision-making and how the Church is run, in creating policies and not getting bogged down in politics. We want to be asked to participate because of who we are instead of being the token young person.
We want to be invited into fellowship. We want more cookies and more community lunches and to help make them. We want more festivities. We want to be invited to the Seniors tea and we want to do kitchen duty. We want to gather for fellowship outside the Church – to go on camping trips and fishing trips. We want to be together for youth group every week.
Why is this important to us? Because when we aren't included it's hard for us to worship and to live out our faith. Because we feel we have a lot to offer and to teach others. It is important because the Church keeps shrinking when young people aren't invited to contribute. We have ideas that nobody else has thought of and we need an opportunity to share them. When we are invited to participate we feel a sense of belonging and a sense of community. This belonging is important to us and it helps us become who we are called to be. The Church is not just a place for adults, it is a place for everyone, for people from generation to generation.
The young people and young adults gathered for Young Sojourners 2014
Posted by St. Paul's Info Blog at 15:51