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CLAY 2018: Thunder Bay

Keynote Speaker 2014: Scott Evans

Learn more about Scott Evans!

Keynote speeches from each Large Group Gathering will be posted here.

Day Two: Keep Your Sandals On While Serving and Learning

Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 in Blogs, Keynote, NPC | 0 comments

For a recap of the first Large Group Gathering, click this link:

After lunch, everyone put on their “Not For Sale” t-shirts, long pants, and runners, and got off campus for the Servant Event. The Servant Event is an important opportunity for CLAY participants to reach out to our surrounding community and offer ourselves in service to others. Prince Edward Island is a small province, but CLAY participants were able to travel to over a dozen different locations to serve a variety of different organizations. (For a full list, see here:


Together, over 800 youth participants, home team leaders, and volunteer facilitators contributed over 2500 hours of volunteer activity to sixteen local community organizations. Participants came back with special CLAY Gathering Edition DIY-PEI dirt shirts and a greater connection to Prince Edward Island and its people.

After supper, it was time for the first Ministry Project session. Ministry Projects are facilitated by volunteer leaders, including representatives from Lutheran and Anglican organizations, Bishops, and youth leaders from across Canada. CLAY participants have the opportunity to share in discussions on issues, learn something new, and take their knowledge back to the larger CLAY group and their home teams. Home Team Leaders will be able to join into the fun on Saturday morning, with the “Try It” project option.

For a full list of Ministry Projects and descriptions, see here: CLAY 2016 Ministry Project Descriptions


After a brief home team check-in, it was time for late night spots! Pokemon GO was a last-minute addition to the schedule, but unfortunately the event was called off due to thunderstorms. The dance, quiet room, games room, and Young Adult Chat were busy from 9 PM – 11 PM.

After the excitement of the Late Night Spots, evening worship in the auditorium space was a welcome opportunity for everyone to wind down, reflect on the day, and prepare for an activity-filled Friday ahead.

-Hannah Shirtliff

Communications Coordinator

CLAY 2016

LGG #1: Keep Your Sandals On

Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in Blogs, Keynote, NPC | 0 comments

Highland dancers kicked off the first Large Group Gathering with a routine that had everyone clapping along! Cheers went up for the Drama Troupe as soon as the audience heard the opening beats of “Uptown Funk” (with a CLAY twist) from their introduction video, and of course the band brought people up to the front row “praise pit” right away.

Traditionally, CLAY participants celebrate Eucharist at the last Large Group Gathering, but this year CLAY Bishop Michael Pryse and Bishop Ron Cutler led an opening Eucharist service, assisted by Specialist Home Team member Leah Burrows. They began by acknowledging that we are meeting on traditional Mi’kmaq territory. It’s a theme that will carry through the rest of the Gathering, with the National Youth Project on Right to Water, and Ministry Projects on relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

The first morning reading was from 1 Corinthians 12: 12 – 20.

The Drama Troupe launched their ongoing skit series: STAR CLAY! It ended abruptly, since the cast had to tow Keynote Speaker Pastor Mark Ehlebracht onstage in a boat from the back of the auditorium. He ran up onstage, and launched into the first keynote address of CLAY.

Pastor Mark opened by talking about his experiences at school and as an aspiring teacher. The first lesson he learned, once he decided he wanted to be on the other side of the desk, was that he had to get the kids to be quiet in order for them to learn. Which led him to the question: When did learning become linked to being sedentary and silent? How can we get answers if we can’t ask questions?

But in order to contribute to the conversation, we need to find our own voices. That’s not an easy task – just ask Bertie from The King’s Speech! Pastor Mark encouraged us to challenge ourselves by putting ourselves out there for someone or a cause.

“our voices must have something beautiful, true, and good to tell”.

So how can we stay true to our own voices? Rather than basing our self-worth and identity in a consumer culture, which tells us that we’re only the sum of the choices we make (and the money we spend), we can stay true to our Biblical identities. According to Biblical culture,  your identity does not come from your choices, but from your chosen-ness. Our voices are liberated by God’s love, and this gift is not for sale.

The second reading was an interpretation of Mark 4: 30-32, as told by the Man of Green Fables. The “Shady Kangaroo” reminds us that just like the mustard seed, the smallest of creatures can provide comfort to many.

The bread was broken, the wine was poured, and both were blessed before CLAY participants shared the opening Eucharist meal together.

Crucifying the Church

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Blogs, Keynote | 0 comments

This is a recap of Scott Evans’ talk on Sunday, August 17, 2014 at CLAY 2014.

“Crucifying the Church: Death Into Life”

Before the CLAY Gathering participants and volunteers took Communion together on Sunday, Scott discussed the meaning of the meal. When pastors and priests recite the ancient offerings of Jesus’ flesh and blood to us in the form of wine and bread, this is not just an invitation to participate in the Communion ritual. It is an invitation to become the Body of Christ.

Scott used the example of Jesus’ first miracle at Cana (John 2: 1-11) to illustrate this point. At this time, Jesus has six disciples with him: John, James, Andrew, Peter and Philip. When Jesus’ mother asks Him for more wine for the wedding guests, Jesus orders the servants to fill six jugs meant for purification rituals with water. When the water is poured out for the head waiter to taste, it became good wine. The six jugs of ordinary water represent the six original disciples, who will become empowered by the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts and go on to lead the Church.

When we take the broken body of Jesus during Communion, Christ is taking us, breaking us, and giving us away to the world. The miracle lies in the fact that after all of this, there will be more left over than we even started with. Continuing on Saturday’s theme, Scott said that we were made to be poured out, “as wine to a thirsty world.”

– Hannah Shirtliff, CLAY 2014 Communications Coordinator


Keynote Speaker Sponsorship

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Blogs, Keynote | 0 comments

The CLAY 2014 NPC would like to thank Huron University College at Western University for sponsoring our Keynote Speaker, Scott Evans.

Huron was founded as an Anglican theological college in 1863 and today offers degrees in the Arts and the Social Sciences and Theology.

The keynote speaker from CLAY 2010, Revd Canon William (“Bill”) Cliff, is the current chaplain at Huron College.

Click here to learn more about Huron University College! 

Huron at Western

Q&A With Scott Evans

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Keynote | 0 comments

When the Keynote Speaker for CLAY 2014 was announced, many of you may have been wondering “Who the heck is Scott Evans?” So get to know a little more about him with this Q&A! And if you have any more questions for Scott, tweet them to @NotScottEvans!

What’s Your Occupation?

 My business cards say Author/Blogger/Speaker on one side … and Unemployed/Of No Fixed Abode on the other! Both are true. I don’t have a job in the traditional sense of the word but manage to keep body and soul together by traveling, speaking and selling the occasional book.

What first attracted to you to youth ministry?

The youth workers who led me when I was a teenager are some of the most important influences on my life. Quite simply, I wanted to be like them. To influence lives, lead people further in their faith journeys and reach out to struggling teens outside the church.

(I also loved the idea of a job that was not 9-5 and included games, good chats and copious amounts of coffee.)

Five Interesting Things About Me:

1. Though I am Irish, I lived in Bangladesh from the ages of 7-15.

2. I have traveled to over 30 countries.

3. I HATE mushrooms and cucumbers with a passion.

4. I spent way too much of the 90’s wearing a mullet.

5. I spent a year as a wanted criminal … and had no idea!

(Editor’s Note: It was for traffic offences he didn’t commit in a car he didn’t own… It’s a bit of a long story!)

What Does “Worth It” Mean to You?

For me, ‘Worth It’ excites me because it’s an opportunity to explore what God thinks we’re worth in a way that can change our lives … if we’ll allow him to and because it’s an opportunity to discover a life worth living.

Introducing Scott Evans!

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in Basics, Keynote | 0 comments

Introducing Scott Evans!

We’re excited to announce that Scott Evans will be the CLAY 2014 keynote speaker!

Scott is a thirty-year-old Irish blogger/speaker/author/youth minister with a degree in Applied Theology and Youth and Community Work. His first book, Closer Still, looks at Christianity from a 21st-century perspective, and the second, Beautiful Attitudes, examines the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  

For more information about Scott, find him online:

Web | Twitter | Youtube