May Meeting Summary: Anthony Albence
“Be who you are and be that well” is a mantra that our May speaker, Anthony Albence, truly takes to heart. Through the ideas of St. Francis de Sales, as well as his own diverse experience, our May speaker emphasized the importance of a young adult presence in the parish community. According to Anthony, a crucial step in becoming more involved is to offer your own unique skills to the community. Rather than keeping our professional, personal, and faith lives “divorced,” we should instead “marry” them together. “Our parishes don’t need us to be someone we’re not,” he said. “You are called to be there for a reason.”
Anthony gave the example of the annual St. Anthony festival in Wilmington, which is hosted by his parish. A few years ago, despite the festival’s popularity, managing it financially had become challenging. As a solution, Anthony suggested that the church should start charging admission. At first, this proposal garnered a negative reaction. However, Anthony was able to sell the idea by using his management and financial experience to detail how it could help. Thus, by combining his professional and church lives, he was able to help the festival raise more money and enjoy more success.
In addition to applying your own knowledge and experience, it’s also important to understand the needs of other members of the faith community. One way to do this is to attend a program at your church that you normally wouldn’t be interested in. “This helps you see what speaks to other people in your parish and see what’s important to them,” said Anthony. Learning about what your parish has to offer can reveal what programs aren’t being marketed correctly, or if there are any needs that aren’t being met. “You need to raise a flag if something isn’t sustaining,” he said. “We need you to bring a different viewpoint to light.”
One challenge that young adults may face, however, is initial resistance from older leadership members of the parish. Like Anthony experienced with the festival, people aren’t always open to new ideas, especially if they are entrenched in a certain role. “You get people who say ‘we’ve been doing things for X number of years, and it’s fine’,” said Anthony. He explained that the best way to approach these people is to ask them to tell you their story, to tell you about their proudest moments and struggles. Through this conversation, you can learn what they get out of their roles and what skills they bring to the table. From there, you can better connect with them and, hopefully, collaborate with them. “[Talking with them] helps break down that wall,” said Anthony.
To view more photos from our May Supper & Speaker event, visit our Flickr page here.