On April 25, 2021, Bishop Anna Greenwood-Lee invited all the youth and youth leaders in the diocese to join her in a conversation via Zoom video conferencing. It was an opportunity for youth to connect with each other and with Bishop Anna and provided a platform for youth to voice their opinions within our diocese. During this meeting, the topic of the position of youth members on diocesan council was raised, and it was recommended that this position should be eliminated and replaced with a more effective way for youth to be involved in the diocese. At the May 29 synod, the motion to remove the youth position on diocesan council was officially passed. However, youth can still be nominated to diocesan council in the same way as adult members.
Since the April conversation, Bishop Anna established what is being called a diocesan youth forum. The group is meeting online using a chat program called Discord. It has also been holding Zoom meetings to further discuss and organize the format of the forum. They are continuing to brainstorm and plan, but up until this point, it has been agreed that the youth will have meetings four times a year, two of which Bishop Anna will attend. Some of these meetings will be online on Zoom, to avoid the logistical problems of meeting in one place, and some will be in person. They will be hosted by different parishes and will include fun activities such as BBQs, movie nights and games days. During these meetings, time will also be allotted for the youth to discuss any concerns, opinions and questions they may have as well as bring up any resolutions they wish to have considered by the diocesan council.
The perspective of youth is critical in this time of great change for the church. We are hopeful that the diocesan youth forum will make it possible for youth to take the lead in how they participate in the governance of the diocese, be inclusive of any youth that want to participate and create meaningful opportunities for youth and youth leaders to connect across the diocese.