Young Adults are Changing the Image of Church

Many young adults in the ELCA are eager to shape the current and future of the church, locally and g

Global Young Reformers- The nomination process has started

Why young reformers? This program aims to build within the context of reformatory heritage, Lutheran

“Remembering the Thirsty Christ”- Worship on World Water Day in India

PILGRIMAGE TOWARDS WATER JUSTICE WORLD WATER DAY 2014 Water is one of the basic human rights of ever

 

Young Adults are Changing the Image of Church

April 8, 2014 in Church, Global Young Reformers Network, North America, Youth Ministry, Youth participation

Many young adults in the ELCA are eager to shape the current and future of the church, locally and globally

 

Monica, Steering Member for North America, discusses with students at Concordia College, Moorhead.
by LWF/ C.Richter

Students at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota

share what they hope will change about our world in the next five years. Many expressed concern for public healthcare pertaining to the current national debate. Many expressed a desire for greater gender equality and less discrimination of people. Students would like to see more sustainable and renewable energy options in the future. And a deep desire for more peaceable relationships between peoples and countries. Sharing/proclaiming the love of Christ was named as vital for changing the world and church.

 

Lutheran Campus Ministry-Twin Cities
by LWF/C.Richter

University of Minnesota Lutheran Campus Ministry-Twin Cities

highlighted the application of faith in daily life. We joined them in learning about food insecurity in a local neighborhood. Many elders and refugee families living in subsidized housing have difficulty accessing food. Through Community Emergency Services we packed and delivered groceries. The young people expressed how wonderful it would be to see more young people involved in Campus Ministry as a safe place to ask questions, wrestle with faith, and build a community that builds relationship among neighbors.

ELCA Outdoor Ministries

is a place for young leadership development and creativity. Meeting with Alana Butler, Executive Director of Camp Amnicon we learned that many of the young adults who become summer camp counselors share that camp is one of their most important faith experiences. As a former camp staff, I can say that is true for me.

Young Staff members at the ELCA church-wide office in Chicago
by LWF/ C.Richter

The ELCA national office

has a significant number of young people in leadership roles. Young Adults are engaged in world hunger, gender justice, global mission, social media/communication and marketing, theological education, ecumenical and interfaith affairs and church-wide council. Young adults are changing the image of church leadership. Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton is excited by the contributions of young leadership and looks forward to seeing growth in the participation of young people.

 

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, ELCA, with Caroline Richter, LWF Youth Secretary and Monica Villarreal, Steering member of the Global Young Reformers Network
by LWF/C.Richter

The Global Young Reformers Network raises opportunities for young adults to further change the image of church through active engagement of life and faith in a global context. We are freed by God’s love to change the world. Your voice and action is important.

 

 

Global Young Reformers- The nomination process has started

April 4, 2014 in Africa, Asia/Pacific, Church, Europe, Faith, Global Young Reformers Network, LWF, Middle East, North America, Youth, Youth participation

Why young reformers?

This program aims to build within the context of reformatory heritage, Lutheran identity and today’s global connectivity, a strong network among young people to meaningful contribute to the Lutheran Member churches.
It will connect, train and empower young leaders from all LWF member churches through virtual meetings, online learning, the Wittenberg Meeting and the project work from 2015-2017 and bring the learning and results into their churches.

Your participation

In the last days, all 142 LWF member churches have received letters to nominate 2 young reformers from their church to the global program. Those 2 delegates will then coordinate the young reformers group(s) on the church level.

In the virtual process, everyone can become part of those groups.

The only criteria are:  interest in exchange and reflection on what it means to be Lutheran today and a connection to a computer or a smart phone at least  once a week.

Sounds easy, right?!

Virtual Networking in 2014

In the first year of the program all young reformers will start engaging in the virtual process to connect, learn and reflect together.  Among the highlights will be the Virtual Conference on Reformation Day 2014.

 

Click on the presentation to learn more

“Remembering the Thirsty Christ”- Worship on World Water Day in India

April 3, 2014 in Asia/Pacific, Church, Climate Justice, Eco Justice, Ecumenism, Environment, Spirituality, Youth Ministry

PILGRIMAGE TOWARDS WATER JUSTICE

WORLD WATER DAY 2014

Water is one of the basic human rights of every individual.

To raise awareness on the issue of water justice, in particular among the youth, and in general among the congregation members, the Youth Desk – United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India (UELCI), partnering with the Commission on Youth – National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) called the member churches, especially youth, to observe World Water Day.

As the UELCI, NCCI and LWF youth continue to address the issues of eco-justice and climate justice as one of the main focal points, a worship order was prepared as a joint venture of the youth departments of UELCI and NCCI that would serve as one of the resource materials to address the issues of water justice to heighten public awareness of water scarcity and issues related to unsafe and unclean water.

World Water Day, commemorated on March 22, calls us for a pilgrimage towards water justice to address the issues such as access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation facilities, privatization and commodification of water, and the contamination of water bodies.

Water is a central symbol of life in the Biblical tradition and the frequent references to water as a symbol of life are earthed in the experiences of the people.

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water (Isaiah 41:17-18).”

Today most of the people in India do not have access to safe drinking water. Most of the water resources are polluted with untreated or partially treated wastes from industries, sewages, and fertilizers and pesticides run off from agriculture fields.  The sewage treatment facilities are inadequate in most cities and almost absent in rural India.  In this context, the Youth Desk of UELCI calls the young people of its member churches to spread awareness on water justice among the congregation members by observing World Water Day using the resource provided.

As a kick-start, a joint worship service was organised by the UELCI Youth Desk with the Environmental Committee of Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute, Chennai.The worship took place in Gurukul Chapel on 22nd March 2014 in which the Students, staff members of Gurukul College and the staff of UELCI were present.

Mr. Vinod Wesley, Professor, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College challenged the participants to re-affirm the divinity of nature (water) and to reclaim justice for the thirsty through his reflection “Remembering the Thirsty Christ” (John 13: 5 – 11, 19: 28 – 30).

“While reaffirming and cleansing ourselves as the first step of the pilgrimage, let us be aware of the thirsty communities in our midst. The Thirsty Christ reminds us of the thirsty people. Christ invites us today to participate in the struggles for the availability of good water for all; to participate in struggles where rivers and lakes are polluted and get privatized; and to address water related diseases which affects mainly women and children,”

he added. The students and staff were challenged to take up water justice as one of their agenda to be addressed and discussed further.

This pilgrimage towards water justice is carried forward in various places, theological colleges and churches around India by the youth of our member churches spreading awareness addressing the issue of water justice.

Reported by Rev. Cand. Chrisida Nithyakalyani, Secretary – Youth Desk, United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India (UELCI)

“…where reconciliation and coexistence of people is preserved.”

March 31, 2014 in Africa, Climate Justice, Ecumenism, Environment, Fast for the Climate, Spirituality, Tools

Reflection to Fast for the Climate on April 1st

By his Eminence Archbishop Serafim Kykotis

 

What people have not managed to destroy for thousands of years, the generations of the past two hundred years have managed to.

The risk of our planet being transformed into a dangerous hot-house without a ventilator further constitutes a visible threat for all of us, staying a little away at the point to avoid the eventuality of the condition of death like the plants of an enclosed hot-house which at stages wither, dry-up and die.

The initiative of the Youth from the Lutheran Church to be involved all of us in fasting to wake up and to react together to save our Planet, our lives and the lives of the people of the future generations is very important for the whole Humanity.

Only when we accept the teaching of our Church, that the Creator of all things is God, can we love the whole of Creation and protect it. We as the crown of God’s creation have a special place on our planet. As humans we have been invited by God to continue the work of creation, and simultaneously to look after it, take care of it and to push for its advancement to whatever protects it as far as its survival is concerned. Hence God, in the first book of the Old Testament, namely in the book of Genesis, invites the first man, Adam, to give names to the animals and to all things. This symbolic Biblical reference shows precisely our responsibilities to the whole of God’s creation. In order to respect God’s creation we must naturally become conscious of the fact that everything in the world belongs to God who created it. Consequently, we human beings are under no circumstance, the proprietors of God’s creation but people who accept his commandments, that is, His management. Hence, what is created in addition in our relationship with creation and nature, is awe and respect. We become conscious of the fact that we have a serious and responsible role to perform for the protection of the environment, which is associated directly with our fitting respect, which we all owe to the Creator, that is, to God.

The  teaching of the Church approximates the relationship of humans with nature and the environment to another perspective, where the reconciliation and coexistence of people is preserved.

One important way to live in this direction of reconciliation and all of us to protect our Environment  is the initiative of fasting.

Fasting is never an intention but a means to an end. However it always has noteworthy intentions: the transformation of ourselves to do good things for the whole Creation of God.

Fasting is our effort to keep ourselves far away from the source of evil. In this way we establish true fasting when we avoid -condemnation and not well-meaning criticism which is based on events, when we abstain from anger and lies and  on our insistence on the truth. The true meaning of fasting does not simply refer to  abstinence from certain foods. There are times when we  fast for a few days and  consider ourselves prepared to receive Holy Communion.  However, fasting on its own, without repentance is useless. We might not eat meat, but our behavior may be the cause of disputes in other people. There are times when we fast from some provisions and inside us we allow hatred and vengeance to nest. This is why in the Old Testament it is persistently emphasized  that we cannot fast and simultaneously eat away at our fellow human being’s flesh with our hatred against them. These forms of fasting constitute the hypocritical fasting which the Gospel  refers to. The one virtue that is linked to  true fasting is forgiveness; to forgive those who have wronged us. The other virtue is charity; to help our fellow human beings whenever we can and not to become enriched with material wealth, but with spiritual treasures, as is charity. Besides, every illegal and unjust wealth is a fire which scorches and a beast

which devours. Consequently, the true essence of fasting presupposes the forgiveness of others as well as charity and generally our support towards all our fellow humans beings, Greek and non-Greeks, Whites and Blacks, young and old.

Fasting helps all of us that we should be there to help the poor people who are the first victims of the climate change tragedies and above all fasting is the way to remember our spiritual role as soldiers of Christ to protect our Planet as a gift given by God to the whole Humanity.

His Eminence Archbishop Serafim Kykotis, Archbishop of the Greek Archbishopric of Zimbabwe, SAFCEI, member of WCC Central Committee