Anabaptist youth from around the world learn and fellowship together at summit
By Elina Ciptadi-Perkins
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA – The three-day Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Global Youth Summit (GYS) concluded Sunday, 19 July, 2015, with a strong desire to impact the world by sharing their gifts.
Under the theme “Called to Share: My Gifts, Our Gifts,” 42 delegates and more than 400 participants discussed what they wanted to offer the global church. For three days, they gave gifts of presence, stewardship, service, empathy, creativity, knowledge, leadership, the ability to accept different opinions and use technology, among many others. They also spent considerable time discussing how they could use those for the kingdom of God.
“GYS delegates are already doing good work in their respective churches and communities. They work well together and have empathy for each other,” said Rodrigo Pedroza, Latin American representative and chair of the Young Anabaptists (YABs) committee. “But after three days of cross cultural interaction and exploration of biblical texts about gifts and callings, their confidence and understanding of sharing has grown.
“We believe that they will be able to do even bigger things after they return.”
“Now, their task is to share this message and energy to enrich their church conferences,” Pedroza said.
“We hope that their church leaders will support them to grow in their spirituality and leadership capacity. The gifts from the different generations in the church will be a powerful testimony for the kingdom of God.”
This offering of gifts to the church was highly appreciated by the MWC Koinonia delegation consisting of MWC incoming president Nelson Kraybill, treasurer Ernst Bergen, and general secretary César García. “These gifts, surrendered into the hands of God, will transform the world.
“Never forget that while you need the wisdom of those older and more experienced than you, revolution starts with young people,” said García. “Jesus was young. So were Jesus’ disciples. And they turned the world upside down.”
A time to reconnect with Anabaptist teachings
While delegates focused on discerning how to use their gifts for the global church, participants were offered many activities to learn more about their Anabaptist roots and the global church.
“We want GYS to be a place where participants grow in spirituality, especially in their understanding of Anabaptist teachings and the global church,” said Lani Prunés, North American representative to the YABs committee. “We do this by giving participants a lot of opportunities to hear and discuss how we live out our faith around the world.”
Workshop subjects ranged from interfaith and cross-cultural engagement, incorporating social media in the church while still making relationships real and exchange programs, to case studies on living out peace and justice in different parts of the world.
Activities from concerts, sports and games, a collaborative art project, drumming and dance showcases, to movie nights enhanced the cross-cultural experience.
“We invite all Assembly Gathered participants to visit us at the Young AnaBaptist booth at the Global Church Village for more information about the GYS experience. Our table is located in the MWC tent,” said Prunés.
Elina Ciptadi-Perkins is a copywriter and communications consultant. She is an Indonesian Mennonite who lives in Singapore with her family
About the Global Youth Summit
Global Youth Summit is a Mennonite World Conference event for young adults aged 18 and older, occurring just before Assembly Gathered. During this three-day event, delegates who are chosen by their national conferences discuss in depth a particular topic relevant to the global church, while participants experience cross-cultural fellowship and reconnect with Anabaptist teachings.
About the Young AnaBaptist Committee
The MWC Young AnaBaptists Committee, called the YABs Committee, consists of five continental representatives chosen from the pool of most recent GYS delegates. This committee will work on building and strengthening connections among youth and young adult groups in the global family by utilizing social media and teaching materials. The YABs committee will also plan GYS 2021 in Indonesia.
For more information, contact Kristina Toews, MWC web communication worker.