Dear friends in Christ,

Greetings from Edmonton where I am attending the Anglican Foundation of Canada’s Board meeting, and this evening their Annual General Meeting. This will be my final board meeting with the Foundation, having served out my six year term.  I will miss working with Scott Brubacher and Michelle Hauser, and being Chair of the Grants Committee. I will miss the great friendships I have made with my fellow board members from across the Anglican Church of Canada. I have learned so much by being part of the work of AFC and look forward to seeing the good things God has in store for it in the future.  Being part of this granting organization has been a fantastic experience for me. It is, in the words of Scott Brubacher at this evening’s Annual General Meeting,  ‘a constant source of good news!’

It has been heart warming and encouraging to see the innovative ministries, the community connections, and the diverse infrastructures that parishes across the Anglican Church of Canada are engaged in.  Over the last several years I see great creativity as parishes and dioceses search for new and meaningful ways to be the church. Since the really challenging Covid years new ministries are springing to life in larger urban centres and small isolated rural communities who are trying to connect with their local communities and steward their buildings well. Many are being assisted in their endeavours through AFC grants. This evening at All Saints Cathedral in Edmonton we heard about an accessibility project which will make their chancel fully accessible to everyone who enters their building.

Over the years a number of parishes in Algoma and Moosonee have received grants from the Anglican Foundation, and a number of theological students entering ministry have been bursary recipients. We are grateful for each and every one as we continue to see these parishes bearing fruit as a result of the grant they received. Thank you for your support of the Foundation through your generous donations. I encourage individuals and parishes to become part of the mission and ministry Foundation by making an annual donation and in so doing a commitment to their work in our church.

I would like to thank Anne Wilson, our AFC Diocesan representative for the energy and enthusiasm she brings to this role.

Earlier this year information about Say Yes! To Kids Sunday (June 2nd) was posted on the Diocese of Algoma website. This is a Sunday the Foundation is inviting Anglican churches across Canada to set aside to pray for the well being of young people in our churches and communities.

Worship resources have been developed for use in parishes for June 2nd which include prayers, readings, hymns and suggestions for including children and youth in your Say Yes! To Kids Sunday. There are also bulletin covers and other graphics posted on our website and the Anglican Foundation’s website to assist in making this Sunday meaningful. I will be at All Saints in Huntsville on June 2nd where there will be a great celebration of Confirmation for two youth. If June 2nd doesn’t work for your parish to use these resources select a different Sunday between now and the end of June.

The Anglican Foundation is also inviting us to be part of the Say Yes To Kids Movement by supporting  the ‘Say Yes! To Kids Campaign 2024’.

Team Algoma has joined this Campaign in support of our three summer camps – Camp Gitchigomee in Thunder Bay North Shore Deanery, Camp Manitou in Sudbury- Manitoulin Deanery, and Camp Temiskaming in Temiskaming Deanery. Summer camps are not only fun for children and youth, but they often become safe havens and places where lasting friendships are formed.

Last week the clergy of Algoma gave me a monetary gift in celebration of being awarded an Honourary Doctorate at Trinity College. Thank you clergy! I will be donating all of those funds to Algoma’s Say Yes! To Kids summer camp fundraising campaign. I hope you will join me in supporting this worthwhile fund and cause. There is a DONATE button on the AFC website. Look for Algoma’s team.

At today’s meeting Scott Brubacher reported to the Committee that the 2024 campaign is on route to be the largest yet. There are 33 participating fundraising teams (Algoma is one of them!) with a total goal of over $150,000. An anonymous matching gift has been secured of $25,000. Additional leadership gifts will be pursued in order to boost the total results and to share among the participants.

The support of children and youth in our churches and communities is vital because they are an important part of the fabric of our church now and in the future. Recently I was invited to prepare a video for an online conference which is taking place in June.  I was given ninety seconds to share my faith journey! What immediately came to mind was how Jesus became my first love and how faith was ‘incubated’ through a youth ministry program that a friend invited me to attend when I was 16 years old.  As a young child growing up in a religious home ‘God-talk’ was always part of my upbringing. But it was through encounters with the Scriptures and being invited into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as a teenager that a deepening of faith took place. I wonder if youth ministry has had such an impact on your faith?

Let us pray for all children and youth every day and do everything we can to support them in their faith journey.

O God, our ever-loving Father/Parent, who called to Samuel in his youth and equipped your own Son for his work in the world: bless the children and youth of our parish and in our community and those who are called to serve them, with curious minds, joyful hearts, and willing hands, that together they may work for the good of your people and shine your light in the world. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Friend and Brother. Amen. Anglican Foundation of Canada, 2024

O Lord Jesus Christ, who took little children into your arms and blessed them: Bless, we pray, the children of this church/all children; grant that they may grow up to know and love you; give them each day your strength and guidance, that they may continue in your service the rest of their lives. Grant this, O blessed Saviour, for your name’s sake. Amen. Adapted from the Prayer for Children, BCP 733

God of rest and gladness, we praise you for the dignity of work and the joy of play, for the challenge of witness and for the invitation to delight at your table. Renew our hearts through your sabbath rest, so that we might be refreshed to continue in your work of restoring the world to wholeness. Amen. Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (2002) alt.

Let’s Say Yes! To Kids in Algoma and Moosonee on June 2nd, 2024.