[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] Young people across the churches of the Anglican Communion are being sought to represent their regions on the new Anglican Youth Network, which has now set out its vision and aims for the future.
One of the interim working group, Clifton Nedd, Anglican Consultative Council Lay Member and Anglican Alliance Caribbean Facilitator, said the network fulfils the objectives of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) resolutions in 2016 and 2019, ensuring that the Church’s mission is open and inclusive of all.
“This is not simply about keeping young people connected or together as a means of sustainability,” he said. “There is a deeper goal: to support and facilitate the fulfilment of God’s mission in the lives of young people.”
The network will facilitate connections among young people, particularly those whose work is based on similar themes. Clifton said it will give young people a forum to pray with and for each other, deepen loving service, and share mission perspectives.
He said: “They will share stories of their experiences with others around the world. Also, very importantly, the network will be a mechanism for consulting with young people so that decisions that are made at the highest levels of the Communion will be informed by perspectives from actual young people in actual parishes from around the world.”
Members of the working group are now actively preparing to mobilise regional groups and contacts to begin to build the foundations of the network at a regional level. Centred around seven regional groupings including, the Americas, Europe, two African regions, the Middle East and South Asia, Asia and the Pacific, young people, aged between 18 and 35, will be sought to represent each area of the Communion and form a Regional Coordinating Committee that will include an adult youth worker and youth representation from across the region. These regional groups will help coordinate the Communion-wide network in a way that is appropriate to their context, but only youth members, not the youth worker associates, will have voting rights and be classed as members of the network.
A key focus of its future programming will be to assist young adults to transition into the adult ministries in the church – bridging the gap.
According to working group member, Rachael Fraser, who is a Research and Advocacy Officer at the Anglican Communion Office in London, the core activities of the network have now been agreed and are listed as gathering, supporting and promoting the ministries of young people and youth workers in the Anglican Communion.
The network has also been set up to encourage the development and sharing of, and wherever possible provide, tools to assist local dioceses and parishes organise youth activities to develop their youth ministries.
Clifton said: “The network is grounded in the local church. So young people who want to be part of the network need to be active in their local churches. This would be their parish or diocese. The network will connect to dioceses and through dioceses to parishes. So key action for young people will be to ensure that they are themselves active in their local church, and encourage the local church to join up to the network through their diocese and Province.”
The network has been built upon the work of the last network, of other networks, and also on the years of learning from Christian mission and ministry and will engage both young people and youth leaders. Clifton said: “It is the first network that seeks to work directly with young people and youth workers in this way.”
The hope is that by November of 2020 the interim group, will be replaced by young people from the seven global regions who will carry forward the day-to-day work of the network.