“Gorgeous and gifted” young Anglicans live faith, change world

Archbishop Sentamu shares a hug and handshake with Tanya Ponich.

Archbishop Sentamu shares a hug and handshake with Tanya Ponich.

In December 2013 Tanya was featured in the Edmonton publication the Messenger.

Below is the copy from the article by Margaret Marschall

“I am gorgeous, talented, gifted; fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves me!” a chorus of voices echoed in unison at All Saints’ Cathedral. Pumping their fists in the air, the young Anglicans and their leaders joined the refrain of their impassioned dinner guest, the Archbishop of York.

As part of the Centennial celebrations of the Edmonton Diocese, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Dr. John Sentamu and his wife, Margaret, sat down October 20 to a Sunday dinner of chicken stew and dumplings with more than 100 youth members from many parishes throughout Edmonton and surrounding communities.

Young people were invited by Bishop Jane Alexander, who prepared and hosted the meal with a little help from Cathedral clergy, Synod Office staff and several culinary assistants, to share with the Archbishop and their peers the ways faith has enabled them to be the change they want to see in the world. One woman said she discovered her heart for serving others while pursuing a Christian post-secondary education. A high school student said that his youth group is passionate about “meeting people where they are and going out beyond the four walls of their church.” A self-described “twenty-something” said her decision to become an active steward, rather than a passive spectator in church, has led to meaningful relationships and a richer faith experience. A young adult ministries leader said that learning to pray has been life-giving: providing her with a sense of self and direction.

“I work every day for acceptance,” said Tanya Ponich, 34, sharing her faith story. Confirmed at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Victoria, BC, Ponich is now an active member of Christ Church, Edmonton, where she attends with her mother Rosalind Mosychuk. She serves at the 8:00 am BCP service and volunteers at the monthly community dinners. The young woman born with Down syndrome is committed to helping others. She takes joy in working with pre-school age children in speech therapy at the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society. As a motivational speaker and advocate, Ponich says she uses her God-given talents to inspire hope, “just like the Archbishop.”

A strong believer in young people as leaders of change within their local communities, church and society, Sentamu, who has more than 40,000 Twitter followers, established the Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust (www.archbishopofyorkyouthtrust.co.uk/youth-trust/) in northern England. He is also Founder of Acts 435 an online Christian charity that connects people in need with people able and willing to provide assistance.

Most dinner guests hung around after the meal chatting in small groups and meeting youth from other parishes while waiting for a chance to greet and shake hands with the Archbishop, who happily gave out high-fives and hugs.

“This has been a thrilling evening,” said Bishop Jane. “My prayer is that we allow this enthusiasm of our young people to breathe in the communities they come from and that we truly listen to them and offer encouragement as they live out their vision of God.”

Tanya Shares a laugh with the Archbishop.

Tanya Shares a laugh with the Archbishop.


Tanya Ponic in front of microphone speaking at All Saints.

Tanya speaking at All Saints.

The article as it appeared in The Messenger.

The article as it appeared in The Messenger.



2 replies
  1. google.com says:

    Hello there! This blog post could not be written any better!
    Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this. I will send this post to him.
    Pretty sure he’s going to have a great read. Thank
    you for sharing!


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