Being called to represent the youth of an entire conference is not an opportunity that arises every day. I was excited to have this chance to see how the National Church works and comparing it to synod conventions. I was also interested in meeting many youth from across the country and learning from them about the state of youth ministry in Canada. The group that was brought together were all full of energy and ready to learn and observe but also ready to speak and participate. When the chance that we may receive vote arose there was a realization among us that maybe we weren't going to just be opinions coming from the floor but that our voices could also vote and directly influence the issues that were before the convention. Unfortunately this opportunity was defeated but our motivation for involvement and Youth Voices presentation was not turned down.
Throughout the various business sessions I was able to hear how various locales of the ELCIC feel about the issues that are troubling our church at this time and how we should deal with them. Although I did not agree with or like every opinion that was put forth, I also was able to respect each person that went before the assembly and spoke. I also observed that at times our business sessions take longer than they should, partly because of a lack of preparation on the part of the delegate, partly a fact that people are scared of change and questioned topics that shouldn't need questioning and partly because of everything getting very confusing with so many amendments. Although this was at times frustrating, I also realized that sometimes some topics need more discussion.
As a member of the Youth Assembly I was lucky enough to have various meal time sessions with various guests such as: the Synod Bishops, the Executive Director of the Evangelical Lutheran Women (ELW) and President Alan Eldrid. It was both motivational and educational to meet with some of the most exciting and knowledgeable people in our local and wider church. The insight they provided into not only their positions but also personal experiences was much appreciated.
Overall my time at convention was long and tiring, but this was because there was so much to do and experience. I enjoyed myself immensely and made many friends that I will keep in touch with my entire life. The National Convention is one of the most important events that the ELCIC holds on a biennial basis, not only for the work that is accomplished but also for the worship, and spiritual events that happen. These all contribute to create an event that ranks only second to the National Youth Gathering.
Redeemer Lutheran Church, London Ontario