The next Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth (CLAY) gathering, originally set to take place in summer 2022, will be postponed until August 2023.
Members of the CLAY National Planning Committee (NPC) made the announcement in a video message to the “CLAY community” released online Dec. 13. They cited fundraising difficulties among youth groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, concern about travelling in groups and fatigue as reasons for the delay, based on feedback from church leaders, youth groups and parents.
NPC chairperson Jordan Smith said postponing the event “will give time for youth groups to reconnect, for our leaders to get the rest they need, and for our planning team to organize a gathering that will take place in what we hope will be a time of more certainty.”
Sheilagh McGlynn, youth animator for the Anglican Church of Canada, acknowledged that some dismay about the postponement was likely.
“This was not an easy decision to make, and we know that there will be feelings of disappointment for so many of you who [were] looking forward to being together this summer,” McGlynn said. “We share these feelings of grief with you.”
Deacon Gretchen Peterson, assistant to the bishop for youth and leadership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, stressed: “Our main focus is to ensure CLAY 2023 is meaningful, impactful, and a safe experience for all.”
The NPC said it would release more details in the coming months. In the meantime it is preparing resources for youth to prepare for CLAY 2023, which is based around the theme “Ashes and Embers.” Highlight videos and recordings of keynote presentations from last summer’s online CLAY gathering will be available on YouTube in early 2022.
In the summer, CLAY organizers will provide a resource that can be adapted for use by youth groups, diocesan or synodical gatherings to begin exploring the “Ashes and Embers” theme.
“We look forward to sharing these resources with you, and we look forward to seeing you again in person when we can all feel more confident about gathering again,” Smith said.
Note: This article has been edited from an earlier version to correctly reflect the time of the August 2021 online CLAY gathering.