About the Lenten Mission and Outreach Day
Some words of Encouragement from the Lenten Mission and Outreach day (LMO)
By: Lee-Ann Matthews, MTL Youth Project Coordinator
If I am to be perfectly honest, sometimes in church ministry, encouragement can be in short supply.
Sometimes energy, enthusiasm, passion and engagement can be in short supply too. I have been a part of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal, aka MTL Youth project scene for several years now and have been involved in children and youth ministry for longer.
I have experimented with all kinds of ministry opportunities to engage young people in the church. I have used fitness and fine art, including drama and scripture to get kids inspired. I have enjoyed some very inspiring and fruitful outcomes as a result. But I have also encountered obstacles when it comes to ministry. For example, when running a program where one is oriented towards the church and the other is secular, I have found that it is easier to recruit when the project has no religious roots.
This likely comes as no surprise to any of us as we often notice this reaction when we invite our friends and neighbours over to dinner versus to a church service. The responses are clear. Our culture can be suspicious of the church to say the least.
I had such insecurities when we were dreaming up the LMO last summer. I feared that the day wouldn’t attract young people, that it wouldn’t be exciting enough, that no one would care, that we weren’t relevant.
And I am delighted to report that I was wrong! The MTL Youth team assured me that the day would be a safe and effective way for young people to grow their faith in community. And they were right!
Thanks to Patrick Wheeler’s (St. Mathias) compelling keynote presentation that set the tone for the day with reminders such as this
“You can make a difference. You can change the world. You young people are not the Church of the future, you are the Church of the present. You are the Church of now. And we need you. So, inspire us, show us how it’s done. Show us what courage means. Show us what the love of Jesus looks like.”
Combined with the organization and dedication of the team, the day was flawless. Thanks in particular to the passion and faith of our young people who came downtown, on a beautiful Spring, day to live out their Christian faith through service.
This filled me with hope!
I was humbled by the way the kids showed up and took ownership of the day with such open hearts. Even though some felt challenged and fearful of being away from their parents and friends and had to push beyond their comfort zones. They trusted us and the experience enough to try.
We sent three service projects out into the surrounding community that day. One on homelessness and poverty with Zack Ingles (The Open Door) and Steven Macksion, (St. George’s Place du Canada) one on urban agriculture with Jenna Smith (director of Youth Innovation) and one on seniors ministry with Neil Mancor (congregational development) at Fulford Residence.
When the youth returned, they were brimming with enthusiasm and new life! Some admitted to feeling cautious and uncertain about what they would encounter at first but were transformed by the people and relationships they encountered. Some were touched at how their actions made a difference in the lives of those they served. We heard also that they learned something new about themselves, their community and what it means to be of service to others.
Following the service projects and the supper, we all went to the incredible 6pm worship service at Christ Church Cathedral. You may know this service already, because it has been offered for several years nows. It is an ecumenical, inclusive, bilingual, contemporary worship service and it is so ENCOURAGING!
There are throngs of young people who flock to this service twice monthly and they are passionately building this community under the skilled leadership of Jean Daniel O Donnċaḋa. This is obvious because the young people are using their gifts in smart, passionate ways. They are invested and participating meaningfully and creatively. The music team was incredible, the prayers were deeply heartfelt and personal.
In short, this worship service was the icing on the LMO cake! Thanks to the Lenten Mission and Outreach Day Project I am so very grateful and encouraged to be reminded that there are young people who are interested in nurturing their faith through service, community and worship in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal….
And that is all of the encouragement that I need! Looking forward to where we are called next! Thanks be to God!
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Check out the link to some pics from the BCD18 event HERE
Children and Youth Ministry Resources
Supper Club is a Family friendly / monthly dinner
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Memories .... Friends of MTL Youth gather for an informal hang out session that included games, food and laughter. Dreaming, praying and visioning together about the exciting future of MTL Youth! If you have any ideas to share, we would love to hear them.
Have you considered taking on The Children and Youth Ministry Challenge?
We are delighted to announce that many parishes are on board and are eager to take part! Whether you already host a children and youth inspired liturgy or would like to try one for the first time, the #CYMChallenge is a great opportunity to get involved. We are here to help. Step 1. watch the CYMChallenge video with kids, parents and leaders and then start considering the amazing possibilities! Do you want to Learn More?