‘Say Yes! to Kids Sunday’ aims to galvanize Anglican Foundation campaign

A young pizza-maker at a diocese of Montreal youth ministry program supported by Anglican Foundation grants through Say Yes! to Kids. Photo: Contributed
Published April 1, 2024

The Anglican Foundation of Canada (AFC) will provide a spiritual focus for Say Yes! to Kids, its annual fundraising appeal for child and youth ministry, by encouraging parishes across the country to celebrate “Say Yes! to Kids Sunday” on June 2.

A new liturgical resource is available at anglicanfoundation.org/sytksunday to help parishes observe Say Yes! to Kids Sunday, which AFC executive director Scott Brubacher describes as a “general unifying force” for the Say Yes! to Kids campaign. Parishes are invited to use the liturgical resource whether they have children in their congregation or not and to support the fundraising campaign if they wish.

Headshot“There is no day in our church calendar that is focused on children and youth … It would be really nice for us to have a moment in our calendar where we celebrate the children and youth in our midst, and we thought that this was a way to make that come together across the church,” Brubacher says.

Launched in 2021, Say Yes! to Kids has provided more than $625,000 in funding to 125 beneficiaries for church-led programs and initiatives to support children, youth and young adults.

The 2024 Say Yes! to Kids campaign runs from April 2 to June 30. The goal of the Anglican Foundation is to have 30 fundraising teams with 90 participants and to raise $200,000 overall for the annual appeal.

While the AFC suggests parishes celebrate Say Yes! to Kids Sunday on June 2, the second Sunday after Pentecost, they can observe the occasion on any Sunday after Pentecost, which Brubacher says “fits with the theme.” The weeks following Pentecost coincide with spring and are thus often associated with youth, being a popular time for confirmation services.

The liturgical resource for Say Yes! to Kids Sunday will include suggested alternatives to standard scripture readings and psalms, centred around children and youth, as well as recommended hymns.

Children and youth are also encouraged to play roles in the service, such as by serving as greeters, participating in the procession, doing a reading, preparing the table, or even offering a short reflection or homily, Brubacher says. If congregations wish to raise funds for Say Yes! to Kids, he adds, they could choose to take up a special offering to support youth ministry within their parish.

Kids go canoeing during the Nature Mission camp, which takes place at the Quebec Lodge Outdoor Centre. Photo: Contributed

Michelle Hauser, AFC development and communications officer, says Say Yes! to Kids was in part a response to studies showing increased rates of loneliness and isolation among young people, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. An Ipsos poll in April 2020 found more than 54 per cent of Canadians felt lonely or isolated, with the highest rates among people between the ages of 18 and 34—of whom 68 per cent reported feeling isolated. Statistics Canada reported in January 2022 that 23 per cent of youth between 15 and 24 reported experiencing loneliness.

Such feelings have persisted on a global scale years after the start of the pandemic. A Meta-Gallup survey across 142 countries reported in October 2023 that 24 per cent of people age 15 and over reported feeling very or fairly lonely. Rates of loneliness are highest among young adults, with 27 per cent of people between age 19 and 29 feeling lonely.

Anglicans who participate in ministry supported by Say Yes! to Kids continue to see feelings of isolation affecting youth in their communities—and the church is uniquely positioned to address such issues, Hauser says.

“We have a lot of very creative entrepreneurial people in our churches,” Hauser says. “We have beautiful spaces in places that are strategically located within communities to be able to develop creative and unique programmes that fill gaps, that help young people make connections, stimulate their curiosity, explore the world, and reduce loneliness in general, and have better contact with peers and caring adults in their communities.”

Feedback from the Say Yes! to Kids campaign indicates church youth ministry programs are having an impact, she adds.

“We hear of multi-week programmes where the children come the first time and they’re very shy and not so engaged and don’t talk to each other much, don’t want to answer the adults,” Hauser says. “But then they build trust and they build social cohesion with each other and they build friendships. It’s really organic.”

The 2023 Say Yes! to Kids campaign funded youth ministry including a diocesan children’s choir in Edmonton, a nature mission camping project in Montreal and weekly family ministry programs in Scarborough, Ont.


  • Matthew Puddister

    Matthew Puddister (aka Matt Gardner) is a staff writer for the Anglican Journal. Most recently, Puddister worked as corporate communicator for the Anglican Church of Canada, a position he held since Dec. 1, 2014. He previously served as a city reporter for the Prince Albert Daily Herald. A former resident of Kingston, Ont., Puddister has a degree in English literature from Queen’s University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario. He also supports General Synod's corporate communications.

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