Church’s youngest members voted too

Published June 1, 2004

Children walk a labyrinth at General Synod’s youth program.

The new primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, may have to work hard to win over the very youngest members of the church, since he did not place first in a mock primatial election held by the children’s program at General Synod.

On Saturday, May 29, half of the 44 children in the day-long event considered the three initial candidates – Archbishop Hutchison and bishops Caleb Lawrence and Ronald Ferris – and discussed the duties of the primate.

“The majority of the children voted for the youngest and ‘coolest’ candidate,” said Dawn Alexander-Wiggins, program consultant for children’s ministry in the diocese of Niagara and co-ordinator of the children’s program at General Synod. She spoke in an interview with General Synod communications writer Diana Mavunduse. The vote among the five- to 12-year-olds resulted in a tie between bishops Lawrence and Ferris.

Originally, the diocese had planned a children’s program that would have covered the eight days of the synod meeting, but only received one request. Ms. Alexander-Wiggins attributed the lack of interest to the agenda, with plenary sessions lasting until 9 p.m., the fact that schools were still in session and that many delegates are middle-aged and older.

So, children from the diocese attended a full day of activities, including an introduction to aboriginal drumming and foods, a drama workshop on the theme of respecting differences, an outdoor pizza lunch and a puppet show. They illustrated the theme of synod – See, I Am Making All Things New – by decorating flower pots and taking a bulb to plant at home.


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