“Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy”. But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”
I am the youngest of three sons. I was the youngest Executive Director of Camp Cross, the youngest in my class in seminary, and the youngest Vice-President of the House of Deputies. And for 17 years I was the youngest clergy person (and ironically I had the senior tenor as a rector for about half of that time) in my previous life. I am one of the youngest bishops. And I am okay with that because I am not so young.
There are more than a few occasions when I am in meetings where I am the youngest person in the room. Frankly, I am not okay with that – did I mention I am not so young anymore?
Last week I spent a couple days on retreat with Youth Ministers from throughout the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. It was a great group and a great gathering. I was neither the youngest nor the oldest for that matter. Yet, we did talk about the absence of young people at leadership gatherings throughout ECMN. My response, (it was actually pleading) please encourage the young people you’re in relationship with to explore and discern the possibility to be called to leadership at all levels of the Church.
Young people are conspicuously absent in our leadership. The fact of the matter is that any time any part of the body is “missing from the table” the rest of the body is missing out. My hope is now that our elected bodies are meeting on Saturdays more young people and others will be able to participate.