“You were made for more.” I longed to hear those words as a teenager. I longed to hear that my life mattered, that I had purpose and I was loved.
Fast forward to today, and I’m so excited to be a part of the ministry of Anglicans for Life! We’re an organization that believes we have been given the opportunity through Jesus Christ to live an abundant life on this side of Heaven. Our desire is to see the next generation fully understand the sanctity of life, standing against abortion and the harm it causes women, men, and pre-born children.
After joining the AFL team in 2017, the Lord put it on my heart to dive deeper into the question: are we, as a Church, addressing sex education and relationships in a way that glorifies that abundant life?
Nationally, the abortion-giant Planned Parenthood is the largest sex education provider in public school systems and they are going into schools and teaching students how to have “safe, healthy sex.” They support students in making decisions that developmentally they aren’t yet able to make, potentially creating life-long damage, and they have a receptive audience. “Generation Z” believes that Christianity is a religion that has too many rules. Additionally, radical western individualism has produced unprecedented social isolation unique to 21st century youth. Even though opportunities for social connection have exponentially increased, suicide rates have reached all-time highs and sexual exploitation is running rampant. It seems as though Satan is preparing for his grand finale – working overtime to convince people that they are alone and worthless.
This is not the sort of abundant life that Jesus was talking about, and it certainly isn’t the kind of life that He died for.
If we want to bring real life transformation into the Church’s youth, we must first speak to who they are. Every teenager yearns to know “Who am I and what am I doing here?”. We have the answer. And that’s how Abundant Life: You Were Made for More was born.
The worst thing the Church can do is to water down sex education. We misunderstand teenagers when we assume that they are just immature, physically and emotionally. Beneath the physiological realities resides a deep human desire for connection. When we fail to help young people navigate how sex and relationships fit into the broader category of life, we are failing the God who created relationship to be a deep, bountiful gift for us.
This curriculum’s goal is to educate middle school and high school students about relational and culturally-relevant topics through Scriptural teaching and in partnership with parents and youth leaders. The first 12-weeks of the curriculum will be launched at the Summit for Life in January, introduced by myself and Rev. Steven Tighe of Young Anglicans. This teaching curriculum will be available for youth leaders to incorporate into their weekly ministries, complete with a large group teaching, small group questions, and supplemental materials.
In conjunction with the new curriculum, we will also have our first ySummit: Mobilizing Young Anglicans for Life. After last year’s AFL Summit and March for Life, the bishops and youth ministers in attendance saw the value in bringing youth to the conference. So, Young Anglicans (https://younganglicans.com/) and Anglicans for Life decided to collaborate on this shared passion, and we’ve spent months praying and creating a vision for this event. The Rev. Dr. Steven Tighe, Provincial Youth Canon, is excited about the event: “The Lord has anointed this team of people with a distinct passion for Jesus, youth, and life. I am ecstatic to see Young Anglicans be a part of this with Georgette and Sammie, because I know that the Lord deeply cares about life. He made it, He sustains it, and ultimately, He is it.”
The ySummit is being held on the evening of January 17, 2019 in Falls Church, VA, the evening before the March for Life. Centered around the abundant life that Jesus gives us, through worship, fellowship, and engaging speakers, we’ll connect the Gospel with the mission about the sacredness of life, helping students see how they can make a difference for the Kingdom here on earth!
Our youth need to know that they were made for more - that they were made in God’s image. Those words are transforming. Those words will give life. I’m so excited for this endeavor and I invite you to come on this journey with us. If you’re interested in learning more about or registering for the ySummit, please visit ysummit.org!
Bishop Stewart E. Ruch sums it up well: “An important part of growing up is coming to grips with the injustices of your own culture and understanding God’s great justice work in Jesus and in the kingdom of God. I’m enthusiastic for our Anglican youth to trust in Jesus and His justice as they face into this era of abortion in which they are now living. The March for Life has been very significant for my own children and I look forward to the additional discipleship opportunities that will be provided for our youth as well.”
More information about the Summit for Life can be found at: http://anglicansforlife.org/Summit-2019/
Anglicans for Life and Young Anglicans look forward to seeing you in D.C.!
Sammie Franks serves as the Coordinator of Ministry Outreach at Anglicans for Life. In addition to her work in our ministry, she spends time going into public schools with the Women’s Choice Network, speaking to high schoolers about healthy relationships and sex education in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Outside of work, she is involved in leading youth group at her church, enjoys running, grabbing coffee with her identical twin sister, and is passionate about serving in nonprofit organizations around the city that empower young children and teenagers to be who they were created to be through Jesus Christ.