November 24 and 25, 2020

Welcome to Stronger Together, the Pandemic Edition! Stronger Together generally brings together youth and young adult leaders from Dioceses and Synods from across the country to build community, worship and learn about issues facing Youth Ministry. This year we have moved our gathering online. While we know meeting online can’t replace an in-person gathering, we hope that more leaders will be able to participate this year because there will be no cost restraints.

We have pulled together a program that looks at Youth Ministry in a Pandemic. Our topics include –

  • Exodus and the Israelites time in the desert
  • Innovation in Youth Ministry
  • Self-care for Youth Leaders
  • Youth, Mental Health and Faith
  • How to be a Good Christian in a Digital World
  • Worship

Stronger Together is an expression of the Full Communion relationship between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada. All Youth Leaders and Campus Ministers are welcome.

There is no cost for this event, but you will have to register by November 20th, 2020 to participate. All sessions will be held online. Details on how to participate will be sent by email after we receive your registration.

If you can’t make the sessions when they are live, they will be recorded and posted to watch at a later time.

We look forward to connecting with you. If you have any questions please contact Gretchen Peterson or Sheilagh McGlynn.

Video Highlights from Stronger Together  

Biblical Reflector

Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat is a farmer, biblical scholar and activist. She teaches part-time at Trinity College, and speaks frequently on justice, the climate crisis and the Bible. She lives with her husband Brian Walsh on a permaculture farm in the Kawartha Lakes with a fluctuating number of people and animals.

How to be a Christian in a Technological World

The Rev. Erik Parker writes at the The Millennial Pastor blog and is one half of The Millennial Pastors Podcast, platforms with a focus on helping the church navigate its way into the 21st century. When not blogging or podcasting, Erik is a husband and dad who likes his Fat Bike and watching Pixar movies with his kids. Erik is the pastor of Sherwood Park Lutheran Church in Winnipeg.

Anne Hill is an Anglican, former librarian, and current farmer in Southwest Saskatchewan. You can find her online through her Instagram, sharing her farming life and keeping connected with her friends across the country.

Lee-Ann Matthews is the Digital Communications Coordinator for the Diocese of Montreal. She has been involved in children, family and youth ministry for close to 10 years and has been an educator for more than 25. She is passionate about faith communities and safe spaces. She has a wife, a cat and a new puppy!

Innovation in Youth Ministry

Sarah Bird is the Program Consultant for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry for the Anglican Diocese of Niagara. She has a background in sociology and working in the non-profit sector developing and implementing programs for inner city youth throughout the Hamilton Ontario area. Her current mandate is to support the spiritual growth, faith formation, and engagement of children, youth, young adults, and families through consultations with parishes, training opportunities, and leadership networking. Sarah’s work upholds loving and inclusive communities that welcomes diversity including children of varying abilities, faith experiences, and church affiliation. When Sarah is not passionately living out her vocational ministry you can find her by or in the lake or hiking crown land in the Ottawa Valley near Algonquin Park, or competitively playing recreational beach volleyball.

Tammy Kirkwood came into youth ministry quite by accident, well by God’s call. She had been working a wide variety of jobs in her life but had taken a break, when the then current pastor of St Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Ellerslie Edmonton, invited her to coffee and offered her the job of Director of Youth and Family Ministries.  She has been in this position for 12 years. Initially she was inspired by her own children who both moved through the youth programs while she was in the position. Her love for youth and family ministry has evolved and strengthened.

She has also been the chair or co-chair for three of the Synod of Alberta and the Territories youth gatherings, along with being on the synod Youth Ministry team.  And for the last number of years she has served on Program Committee for Youth Ministry, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

Adam McComb is currently celebrating being at the halfway point of his Masters of Divinity at Trinity College.  He moved to Toronto for the program from Cairo, Egypt which has been home for 26 years. He has just completed a yearlong internship as part of the Ecumenical Internship Team and the three immersive experiences with Fresh-X.  He believes in a missional imagination, an entrepreneurial spirit, and defining a church by its intentional focus on Children’s, Youth, and Family Ministry. He is an excited person in general and especially today to join this conversation as we look toward our next intentional steps together.  

Lisa van Dijk is the full-time Youth Ministry Coordinator in shared ministry with three Lutheran congregations (aka SLAW youth – Sherwood Park, St. Luke’s Zion, and Abundant Life- East St. Paul) in the ELCIC’s Manitoba Northwestern Ontario Synod.

Lisa grew up in the Lutheran church. She was confirmed at 15 and started going to youth group. Her first National gathering was in 1986 – Peace Fully Yours. CLAY in 2018 – Threads was her 15th Gathering.

Lisa has been married for 30 years and is the mother of twin 24 year olds (both SLAW leaders).

The pandemic has been hard on churches everywhere, it has been particularly challenging to Youth Ministry. We are looking for new and exciting ways to engage, inspire and connect our youth so that hoping on the other side of this, we come out stronger in our faith and encouraged to continue to do good works.

Self-Care for Youth Leaders

Deacon Michelle Collins serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for the MNO Synod. She comes to this position from the U.S., where she most recently served in the Florida-Bahamas Synod as the Director of Communication and Discipleship.  Michelle attended Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN where she received an M.A. in Educational Leadership–which is where her passion for faith formation and children/youth/intergenerational ministry was solidified.  During this pandemic, Michelle has rediscovered a childhood hobby of crocheting, which has resulted in discovering the black hole of YouTube tutorial videos.

Youth, Mental health and Faith

Ian Reedman has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of  Northern British Columbia and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Dalhousie University. He has a post graduate certificate in complex trauma from the Justice Institute of BC. Ian is a Registered Social Worker and is certified in a number of therapeutic modalities , including post-graduate training in attachment and trauma sensitive therapies. Ian began his career working as a  child protection social worker in rural BC and later worked in palliative care and mental health.  He has been a part of Child and Youth Mental Health’s Integrated Practice Team since 2015.

Opening Worship Preacher

Pastor Jane Gingrich likes to grow and eat red and golden beets, because one can fully enjoy the whole plant! Similar to youth and young adult ministry, gardening and cooking raw food ingredients offer one the space to be creative, attentive to changes in the world around us, and build community. While facing the challenges and opportunities of COVID for connection, Pastor Jane serves the congregation of Hills of Peace Lutheran in Kamloops, BC as well as Thompson Rivers University as the Lutheran Chaplain. Taking time to care for her faith and family in these months has included longer walks with the dog and slower tea sipping. As we meet for Stronger Together this November, she hopes that her voice crying out in the wilderness will join yours in sharing the Gospel of Christ.

Closing Worship Preacher

The Most Rev. Mark MacDonald became the Anglican Church of Canada’s first National Indigenous Anglican Bishop in 2007, after serving as bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Diocese of Alaska for 10 years. In 2019 now Bishop MacDonald was elevated to Archbishop.This was a home-coming of sorts for Archbishop MacDonald, who had attended Wycliffe College in Toronto and served as a priest in Mississauga, Ontario. You may find Archbishop Mark playing his guitar at a Gospel Jamboree. In all his years of ministry, Youth Ministry has always been a focus for Archbishop Mark.

Worship Leader

Ali McIntosh is the Area Coordinator for Youth Ministry in York-Credit Valley and Co-coordinator for the Youth Ministry Apprenticeship Program for the Diocese of Toronto. She loves all things Youth Ministry and is excited about the church taking up the challenge to do things in new and different ways. As an Anglican, Ali doesn’t like organ music as much as she ought to and believes in incorporating contemporary music and poetry into worship. On a day off you can find Ali reading, doing yoga, or once again trying to Marie-Kondo her apartment.

Stronger Together 2020 schedule
November 24-25, 2020

  Tuesday Wednesday

10am Pacific

1pm Eastern

Opening Greeting from the Primate

Opening Worship
– Pastor Jane Gingrich preaching, Ali McIntosh worship leader

Bishop Susan’s welcome video

Self-Care for Youth Leaders – Deacon Michelle Collins

10:30am Pacific

1:30pm Eastern

Biblical Reflection – Time in the Wilderness

Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat

Youth, Mental Health and Faith – Ian Reedman


Noon-2pm Pacific

3pm Eastern

2 hour break 2 hour break

2pm Pacific

5pm Eastern

Pandemic Innovation– panel with Sarah Bird, Tammy Kirkwood, Adam McComb, Lisa van Dijk


How to be a Good Christian in a Digital World – Anne Hill, Rev. Erik Parker, Lee-Ann Matthews

3:30pm Pacific

6:30pm Eastern


Closing Worship  Archbishop Mark MacDonald, Ali McIntosh worship leader

4pm Pacific

7pm Eastern

Social gathering  


Times by Time Zone

Starting time – 10am Pacific / 11am Mountain / Noon Prairie / 1pm Eastern / 2pm Maritime / 2:30pm Newfoundland

Break (2 hours) – Noon Pacific / 1pm Mountain / 2pm Prairie / 3pm Eastern / 4pm Maritime / 4:30pm Newfoundland

Second Session – 2pm Pacific / 3pm Mountain / 4pm Prairie / 5pm Eastern / 6pm Maritime / 6:30pm Newfoundland