Skip To Content
From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

Some came on their own. Some came in groups of three or more. Some came by car or van. The majority came by bus. The buses pulled in at Muskoka Woods Camp around 8:30 p.m., Friday evening. With vim and vigour, the youth and their adult leaders paraded into the Music Hall with sleeping bags, pillows, suitcases and every other necessity of life to help them on their way for the annual ReCharge youth retreat.

Before long the hall was alive with the sound and movement of young Anglicans coming together, some for the first time and others for the umpteenth time. The place was electric. From Friday evening through to the closing Eucharist on Sunday, over 160 youth ages 13 to 17 and their leaders participated in prayer, biblical reflection, song, drama, games, water sliding, campfires and much more. More than 20 parishes in the Diocese were represented.

Mary and I spent time at the conference each day. And I have to say, I have attended many a youth conference in my years of ordained ministry. You forget just how invigorating, challenging and fun these encounters are. We were moved many times listening to our youth speak about their faith journey, engage in biblical reflection, and express their thoughts in front of so many of their peers. I know that I did not have that same kind of confidence when I was 13 or 14. The Church today and the Church in the future are in very good hands.

On Saturday evening we hosted a discussion on the “Cast the Net” visioning process that the Diocese has been engaged in this last year. While we have heard from clergy and many diverse groups of lay leaders, we had not heard from youth members. This was our chance. The conference members reflected on the Church of the present. And they imagined what the Church could be in the future. They imagined a Church of deep inclusivity, one that advocated for the poor and the weak, for creation and Indigenous peoples. And group after group reported their desire to be included in decision-making processes and leadership roles. “We want our voices to be heard.”

I reminded that gathered community that Diocesan Synod is fast approaching, on Nov. 17-18. We have the capacity to involve up to 40 youth delegates, 20 within the ages of 16-21 and 20 within the ages of 21-29. Synod is one important way for youth to express their opinions and be heard. If you or anyone you know is interested in this opportunity, please be in touch with the Secretary of Synod, Pamela Boisvert.

Before you know it, ReCharge 2024 will be upon us. I invite your parish youth to join us in Muskoka Woods next year. It is a blast!

Conferences of this kind don’t just happen. I am grateful to the members of the Bishop’s Youth Ministry Committee (BYMC) for their dedication, hard work and for relying on the community of the faithful, the drawing together of the Holy Spirit (and caffeine) to guide them through the weekend. You earned your nap on Sunday afternoon!

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto


P.S. May our hearts be filled with gratitude for all of the blessings, the large and the small, that remind us that all life comes from God. Happy Thanksgiving.