My name is Allison Kristy McKinney. I am the elder child of Allen Jr. and Christine McKinney, the granddaughter of Allan McKinney Sr. and the Late Izola McKinney. The grandniece of Olga McKinney Robison and the niece of Shelia McKinney Rainford.
From the day of my christening and even before I have been a faithful member of St. Anne. And you all know me. I am honored to be your speaker for Youth Sundays as we celebrate the 99th Birthday of our parish and I have chosen to speak about the roles of children and youth here at St. Anne.
As we approach the 100th Patronal Festival of our church, let me begin my message by asking you a question. Were you here in 1914 when St. Anne was founded? Were any of you here when the church was 10 years old? I think I heard all of you answer NO!
I have a few more questions for you. How did St. Anne function in the 1930’s, the 1940’s, the 80’s, 2000’s? Who was the senior Warden, the junior Warden, who sang in the choir, who taught Sunday school, who was the ECW President?
A few more questions for you to ponder…….. How did Mr. Everett Neely become such a good Senior Warden and Mr. Aldwyn Thomas to be such a good treasure? How did the vestry form, and do its work. Who found Fr. Williamson Taylor and Fr. Ronald N. Fox for us? Somebody or bodies did these things. How did they know what to do? Did they read a book, or call the Diocese or copied from another established church. I think not!
Wise members of this parish long ago knew they couldn’t live forever and they knew that order for St. Anne to function, serve and grow in this community, they had to make sure that St. Anne would be here when they were no longer here. And this brings me to the point that I respectfully want to make and talk about today.
Have you, who are in leadership positions or any of you for that matter, thought about the future of St. Anne and who will be Mrs. Neely, Mrs. Darlene Dorsett, Mr. Kevin Fox Sr. or Mr. Deleveaux. Who among us will teach Sunday school in 20 years?
God and his son Jesus Christ, have always held and hold children in high esteem. Check out your bible. The stories are there. Jesus, himself, as a boy was found teaching in the temples. His parents were amazed when they found him instructing others twice his age.
And so my final question to you…..who are you preparing to take your place so that St. Anne will continue to exist and serve God and our community. Who will be the Mr. John Saunders, my granddad, the usher, Mr. Maceo Brown, or Mrs. Edith Newbold or Mrs. Doris Newtion? I want you to see their replacement. Stand up Kaithlyn Neely. Stand up Morgan Kelly. Stand up Kendrick Moxie. Stand up Jestine Thompson. Look around church family. These are the ones and others like them who will replace them. As they sit… let me speak kindly and frankly of what must be our role. Even though we run around and play too much sometimes, we really do know that you won’t always be here and we are your replacements…. Who else but us!
We need to know how to set up the altar. How to run the ECW and the ECM. What is the Daughters of the King all about? How to handle the finances. How to do a search for priest… WE DON’T MEAN RIGHT NOW FR. FOX…We need to know about the holy days of the church’s calendar and what the Jr. Warden does.
For us to shadow some leaders in their roles may not be a bad idea. We need to learn. Somehow our present leaders evolved and somehow they learned. We need you to be mindful that even though we may not look like angels, and act like angels… we are the future leaders of St. Anne. We need you to be mindful that training us will assure that St. Anne will live on.
We’re not saying set a date and time to start formal training with us. We are saying however keep us in mind when you are setting up a committee to plan projects. Keep the older youth and young adults like David Davenport and Peter Holland in mind when selecting the next vestry.
Give us a Sunday to handle the fellowship breakfast under the guidance of Mrs. Laramore, Mrs. Turner, Mr. Charles Neely or Mr. Wayne Dames. Allow us to observe setting up the altar every now and then. We will surprise you because in spite of what you may think about us now, you know and we know that one day this church will be in our charge and we will have to meet the challenge.
God in His wisdom used His son as a mere child to prove that children can be spiritual and with nurturing and training can be strong, faithful Christians who can and will be God’s fishermen of men.
And so, I challenge you to interrupt our play. Get our attention to learn and see what we need to do to be ready to stand where you stand and sit and lead as you lead. How ready will we be right now is really up to you.. I want to feel confident that we will do well when the time comes because you are such excellent role models for us. Our role now is to learn, and your role is to teach. The growth of God’s Kingdom here at St. Anne depends on each of us embracing our roles. I pray that the gift of the Holy Spirit will guide us among the way.
In closing, let me remind you that God said “suffer little children to come unto me”… I might add that such is the future of St. Anne. Our role now is clearly to be involved and to learn. In 1914, the role of St. Anne’s children and youth was identical to ours. Somebody taught them. Who will be our teachers? On Youth Sunday, the Youth of St. Anne are looking at and depending on you. Amen.