Delaney Brummer, a member of Our Savior’s Moravian Church in Altura, Minn., was a youth delegate to the 2023 Northern Province Synod. During this year’s gathering, Delaney and her fellow youth delegates championed and presented a resolution that will help expand the role of youth in church leadership. She shares her thoughts on this effort here.
I have been actively involved in not only my church, but also in many Moravian camps across not only the Northern, but also Southern Province. This helped me, when on Friday night of Synod, I found myself talking with Greg Behrend (pastor of You Belong), Jennika Borger (Moravian University chaplain), and Sylvie Hauser (communications consultant for the Northern Province) about what our versions of our “dream church” would look like. This conversation inspired me to start thinking about what I really thought was needed…and landed on the voices of the youth. The conversations between leaders, lay members and youth are what can help shape a “dream church” for all of us.
Since my brain was wide awake, and I tend to process things out loud, I started a conversation with my roommate at Synod, Clara Pratt. We started talking about how we felt as youth in the Moravian Church. We have always felt loved, encouraged, supported and wanted. However, we both agreed that our ideas were commonly overlooked. Clara jokingly said, “We should write a proposal about what we want.” We then decided our voices weren’t a joke anymore.
So I pulled out my laptop, and in “true youth fashion” began writing a proposal at midnight. We didn’t really know what our next steps were, but we showed the proposal to Jeff Pratt even though we were terrified. He gave us a lot of support, so we were feeling inspired again, and asked Greg Behrend to look it over. We were still “pretty new to this whole synod thing,” so we were also looking for knowledge of how we could actually get the proposal onto the Synod floor. He gave us a lot of advice, and even the idea to create the council of youth to be in direct communication with the Provincial Elders Conference. We then gave our proposal to the committee on Healthier Congregations and were met with even more support.
Clara and I were excited, however we wanted to consult with the other youth delegates to see if they were feeling the same way. We quickly found out this wasn’t just an “us problem” and were supported in the writing, editing and presenting of our proposal by all the other youth in attendance, including Joe Foyst, Jasmine Aska, Madison Figiel, Megan Vanderbloemen and Harrison Krauss. They also felt many of the same feelings. So we decided we needed to move forward with this proposal. Quickly, Pastors Jamie Almquist and Cynthia Rader-Geyer, Clara, Megan and I were finishing the proposal over lunch.
Eventually we saw our proposal come to the floor at Synod, and we were so excited. We were ready to present our ideas. I wasn’t super nervous, because personally I do a lot of public speaking (if you have been to camp Chetek in the past two years you may know I am not afraid of the microphone). However, when I began reading our proposal to the Synod floor, I broke down. I was overcome with emotion. I knew we were doing something good. I was glad to have the support of the other youth.
However, I couldn’t have even imagined the support from the adults in the room as well. They began suggesting amendments, including an amendment from our new PEC president David Bennett to “meet with the council in person or over video chat when possible,” that is something we are super grateful for and looking forward to!
Most importantly though I am thankful for the courage from God to stand-up even though I was terrified, because this was important stuff. The youth in our church are important. As Cynthia stated “Youth are not just the future of the church, they are the church.”
We are very excited about our proposal and can’t wait to see how it changes the voice and impact of youth throughout the province.
For the complete resolution, visit www.moravian.org/northern/
Delaney Brummer was a youth delegate to the 2023 Northern Province Synod. She attends Our Saviors Moravian Church in Altura, Minnesota.