A reflection on the 2019 ySummit and March for Life.
God is good.
Those are really the only words that I have to say about the ySummit: Mobilizing Young Anglicans for Life. After a year of coming together with our planning team, made up of Anglican youth leaders, to work out all the kinks, and completing what seemed like an endless amount of work around the holidays, the ySummit brought 85 youth leaders, students, and parents together on January 17-18, 2019 in Falls Church, VA and Washington D.C. Let me just say again: God is good.
Our vision for the ySummit and March for Life was for youth in the Anglican Church to fully understand the worth of every human life, including their own. The event was centered around the Abundant Life that Jesus gives us – and we hit that message hard at the ySummit through worship, fellowship, and engaging speakers. The next day, we joined hundreds of thousands of people at the March for Life, most of whom are under 25 years old, to advocate for every human life. Robbie Pruitt, pastoral associate and youth director of Christ the King Church in Alexandria, Virginia, said it better than I ever could: “I am for life, because Jesus, the author of life, is for life.”
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly (Jesus, John 10:10, ESV).
Students spent time in intercessory prayer – that they would acknowledge God as the Creator, recognize those impacted by abortion, value the selfless act of adoption, and truly believe who God made them to be, so that they could serve Him.
Youth leaders were commissioned by the Rt. Rev. Bill Murdoch, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of New England, who supported the ySummit from the beginning and even made it a priority to be there. In turn, students were commissioned by their youth leaders to go out on Friday at the March for Life and advocate for human life – affirming that every human being is created uniquely from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death and that God has never made a person He does not love. This was a powerful time of prayer and the Holy Spirit was present!
I had the privilege this year of speaking at the ySummit, sharing part of my story and connecting our identities as children of God with being pro-life. I was reminded of an important question that I wrestled with when I was a teenager; so, that’s what I ran with. I asked the attendees that question: “Who are you, and why are you here?” Even in Scripture, we see clearly how often God’s people and even Jesus’ disciples forget the Truth – that they are God’s people, holy and set apart.
We do the same thing today. We stumble through our days hoping that we can figure out all the challenges and do all the things on our to-do list by our own willpower. But we aren’t alone. We are God’s people. That is who we are, and that is why we are here.
Craig Vickerman, rector of All Saints Anglican in Attleboro, MA, brought a group of students to the ySummit and the March for Life and said, “The fact that the next generation of kids will grow up understanding what it means to value life from God’s perspective is HUGE.” These students ARE going to shift our culture – I am confident in that, and I want to be a part of it. I want Anglicans for Life to be a part of it. And I want our Church to be a part of it. God is working – in the midst of the darkness that we’ve seen against us, the terrible laws that have been passed, and the opposition that’s pushed harder than ever - He is working. I am sure of that because He created life, He sustains it, and He died for each of us to have it abundantly.
On that note, we were also excited to launch our new youth ministry resource, Abundant Life: You Were Made for More, which equips youth leaders, partners with parents, and engages teens in conversations about relationships and sexuality from a Gospel-centered, culturally-relevant approach. Visit YouWereMadeForMore.Org for all the details. You’ll see that the teachings in the curriculum are all rooted in who God created us to be, which is why this was such an essential part of the ySummit, too. I firmly believe that once students understand who they are (and Whose they are) the game is going to change. I believe that igniting our youth to live faithfully in their relationships and standing for life are actually more connected than most of us realize. It begins by equipping them with their identities, because that’s exactly what Jesus did for us in the Bible. We start with identity – and as we move toward becoming more and more like Him, we realize that if we want to follow Him we have to value what He values. And that’s when we realize that each and every person has dignity and worth.
We are already SO excited for the ySummit 2020 and look forward to having even MORE youth leaders, parents, and students marching with us – standing for who they are and Whose they are – but more importantly, standing for the unborn children who were robbed of that chance.
Please follow Anglicans for Life on social media and get connected with us if you’d like to stay in the loop about the March for Life 2020. But for now, you can save the date: January 23-24, 2020!
This is the promise that I left with the students who attended the ySummit, and it’s the same promise that I will leave you with: In the midst of the culture of death and the fear that may surround you as you figure out who you are, why you are here, and what life is really all about – the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The war is already won! The war against these babies, the war for life, has already been won.
If you’ve been following abortion legislation being discussed and passed within the past few weeks, you can see that the battle is still raging. Satan will do whatever he can to stop you from believing that who you are is powerful. Your storyis powerful. Your identity is powerful. Your identity is powerful because of Jesus. If you agree with that, if you believe who God says you are, you can get in the fight, knowing who you are because of what Jesus has already done.
Sammie Franks is the Coordinator of Ministry Outreach with Anglicans for Life and author of the Abundant Life: You Were Made for More curriculum.