The Official Youth Presence participating in General Convention 2009 is a group of amazing, passionate, articulate, diverse, mature, faithful, respectful, intuitive, intelligent, humorous, playful, hardworking teenage Episcopalians. I could go on, feeling quite proud and thoroughly blessed to be a companion on the way with these fascinating young people.
This particular group is quite diverse in their cultural heritage, theological perspective, geographic location, political leanings, congregational experience, and level of diocesan or provincial involvement. Their care for one another as fellow human beings, in how they deliberate over controversial issues, is a process to behold. They are gentle and direct; passionate and respectful. Their witness will serve the church well, especially in these divisive and polarized times.
There are many misconceptions about the Official Youth Presence. The group is not a political action committee, a group of lobbyists, or a special interest voting block. If fact, they have no vote and are not deputies, although they are official members of the House of Deputies. The group met in April to discuss their common passions and agreed upon the main themes for their speaking opportunities. Each member of the OYP speaks for her or himself. They are skilled in using "I" statements and are careful not to characterize their opinions as those held by fellow OYP members in general. Despite their carefulness in speaking, their statements are often misattributed by some media sources as being those of the Official Youth Presence.
Below are the three resolutions that helped establish, form, and mandate what the Official Youth Presence has become. Soon we will begin posting the text of their addresses to various bodies of General Convention. Please keep these courageous young people in your prayers as we continue to deliberate and worship together at General Convention in Anaheim.
Bronwyn Clark Skov
Program Officer Lifelong Christian Formation and Youth
Resolution # 1982-B045 Concurred as amended at GC 1982, New Orleans
Title: Invite a Youth Presence at Future General Conventions
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 67th General Convention of the Episcopal Church through the administration of the National Church invite a youth presence as a permanent part of all future General Conventions of the Episcopal Church.
Resolution #1994-D115 Concurred as Amended at GC 1994, Indianapolis
Title: Support Seat and Voice for Youth at Church Conventions
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 71st General Convention allow, support, and accept seat, and voice, for the official Youth Presence of the General Convention; and be it further Resolved, That seat, and voice, be allowed, supported, and accepted for youth at their respective diocesan conventions.
Resolution #2000-D027 Adopted GC 2000, Denver
Title: Amend House of Deputies Rule XV.60(a)[Official Youth Presence on Floor]
Resolved, That the house of Deputies Rule 60(a) be amended, with an additional sentence as follows:
In addition, up to 18 youth (not more than two youth from each Province) who are duly authorized representatives known as the Official Youth Presence, shall have seat and voice in a designated section on the floor of the House.
Each resolution above appears as received from an Archives Research Report.