16 July 2009

Address to House of Deputies: Part I

The Official Youth Presence discerned two young people to address the House of Deputies. Zach Brown (Diocese of Upper South Carolina, Province IV) spoke first, followed by Carolyn Chou (Diocese of Pennsylvania, Province III). Following are Zach's written remarks delivered on Monday, July 13.

Good Morning Madame President…

And Good Morning House of Deputies my name is Zach Brown from Diocese of Upper South Carolina, Province 4. And for those of you wondering… I have checked with the President and The Vice President of the House to make sure that this morning I am NOT out of order.

I would like to call your attention to the information we received from President Anderson yesterday stating the percentages on Deputation. It states that deputation 25 and under represents 2% of deputation for the entire House of Deputies. In my opinion that tells me at least on this level youth are not very involved. This is troubling to me.

For so long I have been told what I could and could not do because of my age… And let me tell I hate being told what I cannot do.

Let me now point out what the Adults cannot do…

You cannot grow the Episcopal Church without the youth. You cannot fund the Episcopal Church without the youth. You cannot see the Episcopal Church without the youth. You cannot hear the Episcopal Church without the youth.

You’re probably asking me for justification of these points. And I will gladly give it. I was told once “The youth are the future of the Church.” That is totally 100% incorrect “The youth are the Church.”

That is how I justify the previous statements. Without the youth there is NO Church, so I ask you without a Church how would it grow, be funded, be seen, or be heard??

I think about Youth Involvement in The Episcopal Church and there are numbers to show how little we are involved.

Here is my last fun fact and this one blows me away. Look at your name tag… Under your name is a red bar with Deputy in black letters in that red bar. That means you as a Deputy have seat, voice, and vote on the floor of This Convention. Now I look down at my name tag and I have that same red bar with Deputy in it… but I cannot vote…. Interesting.

I love the Episcopal Church, one day I want to get married in this church, I want to bring up my children in this church, and I hope my funeral is officiated by an Episcopal priest. For this all to happen our Church has to do something that is hard for all Episcopalians… EVANGELISM.

I keep hearing members of The Church say we have to mean it when we say The Episcopal Church Welcomes You… Agreed we have to mean it but that means actually saying it out loud. Talking about your Jesus at PTA meetings, the grocery store, the golf course, and even Bingo… You know the concept of talking about Jesus, outside of Church. Something that often gets lost in discussions with friends and family.

Now I can talk about Youth Involvement, and Evangelism all day. I imagine there are several people in this room who would love to argue against almost everything I have said today.

That is a good thing; we are a Church with lots of difference of opinion. But I do ask you to agree with the major points of my speech today. That youth need to be more involved in our Church so that our Church may grow and prosper.

Also that Evangelism needs to be part of the Episcopal vocabulary and we MUST enact that word in our everyday lives.

I have told you that the youth are the leaders of today. So now I ask you, “Will you let them be?”

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