It’s officially summer and yet these cool temperatures have pushed off my thoughts of swimming in the lake for some warmer days. However, this is perfect sleeping weather so you’ll not hear complaints from me! And, it’s great walking weather, too, but I will resist the temptation to go for a walk and try to get another resolution in your hands today:
Resolution D045: Support for Men’s Ministry
Resolved, that the 78th General Convention acknowledge with thanks to God for the Brotherhood of St Andrew and 132 years of ministry to men and boys; and be it further
Resolved, That the 78th General Convention encourage and support diocese and congregations in their efforts to develop and expand Ministry to Men and to mentor and raise up the next generation of young men throughout the Episcopal Church.
Well, I must confess ignorance once again. Until I read this resolution I knew nothing of the Brotherhood of St Andrew or the Ministry to Men. What would I do without the internet?! From their webpage, I learned that the Brotherhood of St Andrew is the “oldest and most effective ministry of the Episcopal Church.” Founded on November 30th, 1883, at St James Episcopal Church in Chicago, their mission is to “bring young men and youth to Christ” and their vision is “to inspire, empower and equip men and boys to fulfill the Great Commission.” To reach their goal, the Brotherhood embraces three disciplines: prayer, study and service. You can learn a lot more about them on their webpage.
I wondered if the “Ministry to Men” mentioned in the resolution was a generic name for any men’s ministries because I could not locate a national or regional organization by that name. However, I did find a list of resources and contacts on the Episcopal Church website that will provide more information on possible connections to men’s ministries: Click here.
Before I go further, I want to inject my perspective on this resolution. Historically, I can imagine why the Brotherhood of St Andrew was a ministry for young men. In 1883, the leaders of our Church were all men and the ordination of women was still far off. Today, we recognize that our leadership is not gender-specific and that discipleship is needed and appropriate for everyone. I can’t change the words of the resolution but I can suggest that we broaden the way we might try to live into it here in Michigan. We need to raise up both young men and young women in the Church.
One of my very favorite ministries is Homeboy Industries which reaches out to former gang members in the Los Angeles area. No longer just for men, they describe their work as serving “high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women with a continuum of free services and programs, and operate several social enterprises that serve as job-training sites.” While not specifically connected to The Episcopal Church or the wording of this resolution, Homeboy Industries offers an example of what discipleship for young men and women can be. Please check out their website here and the story of their founder Fr Greg Boyle, SJ, in Tattoos on the Heart: the Power of Boundless Compassion.
Church of the Messiah in Detroit knows what it is to mentor young men in their community. At the most recent Team Gathering of the Total Ministry congregations, Fr Barry Randolph and others from Messiah shared their stories of work with the young men and women of their neighborhoods. Their efforts indeed meet the intention of this resolution to raise up the next generation. If you’d like to learn more, you can email Fr Randolph at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The work of our Missioner for Youth and Young Adults, Eric Travis and his team of dedicated volunteers fit this criteria, too. Check out the calendar of upcoming events for the youth of our diocese and you’ll find many opportunities that are designed to reach young men and women and mentor them as young leaders.
I am thankful for the fine history of work with young adults that the Episcopal Church has demonstrated. We do have a good, solid foundation upon which to build as we continue in this important work for the future of our Church, communities and nation. Let’s all encourage those in youth and young adult ministries and offer our assistance and support as requested by this resolution!
Let us pray –
All-Loving God, you see your young people growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways
give more life than the ways of the world, and that following
you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to
take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance
for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you,
and to keep alive their joy in your creation. Guide your Church to train and equip mentors that will not only share their words but share their lives with these young men and women; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ The Rev Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council