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By: Rev. Jayson Rhodes [Provincial Communications & Media Advisor to the Anglican Church)

High tea with the bishops was a highlight for youth leaders attending The Abbey this weekend [29-30 Aug] at El Rancho, Waikanae.

Teacups, teapots, and scones covered in jam and cream were all part of the chance for youth leaders to ask questions of bishops and to set the conversation topics.

Groups and individuals booked in time slots with the bishop of their choice.

Archbishop Philip Richardson, and Bishops Victoria Matthews, Richard Ellena and Justin Duckworth entertained multiple sittings with tea.

Questions ranged from faith journeys to fears to how bishops balanced their commitments and time, and whether bishops faced opposition.

One group described hearing about Bishop Victoria’s call to faith as a teenager and about being the first woman bishop in Canada.

Gus McHale summed it by turning to Star Wars characters, “We wanted to hear the wisdom from the bishops; it’s kind of like we are Luke Skywalker and they are all Yoda.”

The high tea lived out one message from Phil Trotter, National Youth Advisor and the Abbott for the weekend.

In one address he spoke about the need for a new image for the Body of Christ, and the importance of adults and youth doing faith together.

Rather than young people doing church in one place and adults in another, there should be a partnership modelled on the high tea, involving mixed generations.

Now in its third year The Abbey continues to grow. This year there are 270 attendees, up from 170 last year.

The theme this year is “Metanoia – God of the U-turn”  with emphasis on the transforming power of God’s love for young people and communities.

The youth leaders head back to their parishes on Sunday afternoon and Phil Trotter says his hope is that they are seen as partners that make up the Body of Christ.

Reference Code: XXSP
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