(Article written by Wilmer Toyoken & Vivian Lam)
On Saturday, July 28, 2018, from 9am to 4pm, one day after the last week of summer school, 37 young people and a dozen lay and clergy adult leaders from St. Mary’s, Sapperton; St. Mary’s, South Hill; St. Matthias and St. Luke; and St. Michael’s, Vancouver gathered at St. Matthias and St. Luke for the one-day Summer Youth Camp of the Anglican Canadian-Asian Ministry (ACAM) churches. This is the 3rd year in a row that ACAM young people have met together for this joint camp. The youth were joyful as they came together, meeting old friends and making new friends, and they had many chances for spiritual learning and growth with their peers. Other successes of the camp include the sacrifices of adult volunteers who helped in countless ways during the event and in the preparation and aftercare of the venue.
The theme of this year’s camp was “God Saw That It Was Good - Is It Still Good?” Youth were invited to reflect on God’s intention for our relationships to the earth and to other people—particularly Indigenous peoples—and how we as humans help or hinder this intention. The day began with registration, the surrendering of cell phones (making for a more focused and sacred space), a light breakfast, and then morning worship. The music and worship for the day was headed up by young people from St. Michael’s. The main activities for the day were 2 interactive Bible studies in which young people were invited to either dramatize or draw, and then explain, their understanding of God’s intention for creation. The morning Bible Study explored the creation story in Genesis 1 and our call to care for the earth. Afterward, there were some fun icebreakers, which was then followed by a Faith Q&A where lay and clergy leaders in the room answered questions about religion, faith, and spirituality collected from the youth. Lunch consisted of tasty pizza followed by some spirited singing.
The afternoon proceeded with learning about the Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry; the youth then assembled care packages of toiletry and food items to be given to those in need through this ministry. The 2nd Bible Study which followed focused on caring for others—especially in our relationships to indigenous people—through an exploration of reconciliation as described in Matthew 5:21-26. Toward the end of the day, it was an honour to welcome the diocesan Indigenous Justice Ministry Coordinator, Jerry Adams. After the group viewed the powerful video "The Spirit Has No Colour," he shared his wisdom about the history of indigenous people of Canada, and his own experiences with the residential schools and as a member of the Nisga’a nation. He invited the youth to consider how precious one’s own history and culture is, and the importance of honouring and holding on to them. Closing worship brought together the day’s themes in prayer and song and featured the gingko biloba tree from last year’s camp, to which written prayers from participants were tied. The tree will continue to travel around the parishes and return to next year’s camp as a sign of the ongoing growth and connection of all in this ACAM camp community.