First, the Church isn’t about to end, be it with a whimper or a bang. We are the inheritors of a tradition that has survived the Ascension of Jesus, outward persecutions, inward persecutions (those heresy debates with permanent conclusions), the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and more. All of this changed the Church. The 21st century and the digital swell will be no different because God is more faithful and creative than we can imagine.
Second (and like unto the first) Millennials aren’t going to manage what the Reformation could not do. The Church will survive us, in fact we could be good for one another.
We creatures called Millennials are just starting to come into our own. The oldest of us have, by most dating, just turned 30. We are at the point where we have been at the tables long enough to know we should be listened to; where we either no longer are alone or know we should no longer be alone; where we can begin to speak about who and how we tend to be.
Not everyone is thrilled by this, of course. We are strange and new and, even if we don’t want to do things in a new way (often true), we do want to do things in old ways that work for us.
We still have much to learn. I know this; I believe that most of us know this. But there are also things that we have to share.
We firmly believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (We tend tone quite orthodox.)
By and large we aren’t worried about the Church dying out because we don’t plan to go anywhere.
We know that the Church isn’t perfect. For many of us that is why we stay.
We know that the Church can be better than we currently are.
We aren’t asking for perfection.
(Also many of us can make the internet do all sorts of things. Not all of us and not every non-Millennial type needs this, but as the melts in your mouth not in your hand candy coating.)
We are not the end of the Church. We are not the future of the Church. We, I, desperately want to be a part of the Church. Because we love this Church. Because we have found Jesus in the liturgy, in and despite our craziness, and we want others to have that same experience.
That is what makes me sad when witness again my generation being ignored.
I say this in part because I do worry about what decisions would be made without the voices of my age-peers spoken and received. (I worry when other groups are not present.)
I say this because I am not interested in creating the Church I might have better liked when I was 14. I am far more interested in reforming the Church today’s 14 year olds might need us to be.
I say this because the more fully my age-peers are in and formed by the Church, the better we the Church will be in the years to come. We are here now, we are capable; being involved, being encouraged and allowed to exercise our gifts in this Church ought only to improve both of us. Surely we can all agree that this mutual investment would be mutually good.
I say this because it is my sincere prayer that I will be able to graciously hand over authority as I can and need to. Set the example of sharing and passing on authority and join me in hoping that we as a Church only get better at this.
We want to be here now. We want to be fully welcomed at all levels of the Church. We want to create The Episcopal Church that people will, if not flock to, be drawn to. Together there is a long way for us all to go.