Youth contribution to WCC General Assembly 2013!
Dear World Council of Churches,
Youth has played a crucial role for the ecumenical movement from its very beginnings.
The Christian student movement was one of the most important forerunner that led to the establishment of WCC. However, the involvement of youth in the life of the organization has often shown to be a challenge in the past.
The WCC recognized the issue and implemented measures to increase youth involvement, including the founding of the Echos Commission, encouraging youth participation at ecumenical gatherings and creating opportunities to bring the perspectives and voices of youth into decision making bodies.
Despite this, much more remains to be done, e.g. youth participation at the Peace Convocation in Jamaica this year fell well below the ambition of the World Council, let alone youth's own. In the future, member churches should be much more closely involved with events to ensure a high level of youth engagement.
Scholarships and other opportunities to take part in international ecumenical events have given many people wonderful and fruitful experiences with lifelong impacts. However, there are many young people committed to ecumenism who might not be visible to leaders of their churches and may miss out on taking part in WCC activities. Many young people want to contribute, be creative, and be an essential part of preparations and planning.
Therefore, we believe that now is the time to take things one step further. To invite young people in churches and ecumenical organizations across all continents to not only participate in the assembly, but to contribute to the preparations leading up to the assembly.
In addition, it is essential that youth are involved in the planning of the pre-Assembly youth event. We believe a completely open, transparent and inclusive process in the run up to General Assembly 2013 would not only bring better content and greater outcomes, it is also an ecumenical mean in itself; it is putting seeds in the ground for the future of ecumenism. Today, there is a wealth of tools available online to facilitate processes involving hundreds or thousands of people across all time zones. Many of us who been involved in this type of work in other areas know the benefits are huge and costs are low. We know there are many more young people around our globe longing to get involved, to contribute and make the ecumenical movement stronger and more sustainable. Together with WCC and together with Echos Commission, we can achieve these goals. Yours sincerly,