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Proposal to establish a WCC Youth Body

06 September 2006

1. Mandate

WCC 9th General Assembly "endorsed promoting ecumenical leadership development of youth in the life of the WCC, including the full participation of youth in all programmes of the WCC. Their voices, concerns and presence must be brought more directly into the decision-making and leadership of the work and governance of the Council" (c.f. PGC par. 15). WCC 9th Assembly "directed the WCC Central Committee to create a representative body of young adults who would coordinate the various roles of young adults connected to the WCC and facilitate communication between them. Such a body would create space for a meaningful participation of young adults in the life and decision making of the WCC, and would be able to hold the WCC accountable to its goals regarding young adults" (c.f. PRC par.14). After the Assembly, WCC Executive Committee followed the process in the spirit of the Assembly and "approved the organization of an interim "youth body" to meet just before the next Executive Committee gathering in August 2006 so as to prepare a proposal for a permanent body for action and adoption at the Central Committee" (c.f. ExCo Minutes May 2006 7.4.1.3. p. 65).

2. Vision

The vision for the Youth Body is two-fold:

In relation to the WCC: To ensure the sustainable and active involvement of young adults in all levels of the WCC by developing their leadership skills and advocating for broader participation of young adults in the WCC. This can be achieved only through honest intergenerational partnership and dialogue.

In the broader ecumenical context: To broaden and strengthen the ecumenical movement through networking with young adults from local, regional and global ecumenical organizations (within and outside the WCC constituency) and facilitating a space for exchange.

3. Ways of Working

In the three focus areas listed below, the Youth Body will have these specific objectives:

  1. Consultation and mutual accountability within the WCC

  • To coordinate and support the young people serving in various roles within the WCC and facilitate communication between them (c.f. PRC report, p.14, Porto Alegre, 2006).

  • To be a forum for channelling the issues and concerns of young people using an interactive and integrated approach in collaboration with the WCC.

  • To advocate for and facilitate the ongoing and increased active involvement of young adults in the WCC by collaborating with the WCC decision-making bodies.

  1. Networking with the wider ecumenical movement

  • To broaden and strengthen the partnerships between young adults active in churches and local, regional and global ecumenical organizations.

  • To facilitate a space for exchange among active young adults coming from various churches and ecumenical youth organizations and together take initiatives which will serve young adults and the ecumenical movement.

  1. Strengthening ecumenical leadership

  • To develop the leadership skills of young ecumenical and church leaders for the ongoing work of the WCC and the sustainability of the broader ecumenical movement.

  • To create resources for young ecumenical leaders who are engaged in the WCC and in the wider ecumenical movement.

These objectives will be reached through the ongoing consultation between the Youth Body, WCC governing bodies and the WCC Youth/Young Adults Programme. A more specific action plan will be reviewed by the WCC Youth Body in its first meeting, building upon the momentum and discussions following the WCC 9th Assembly. The action plan will be an integral part of the WCC's Young Adults Programme, including human resources and financial implications.

4. The Way Forward

Leading up to the 10th WCC Assembly, the Youth Body will meet at least four (4) times. The first meeting will take place in the spring of 2007 along with the Ecumenical officers gathering. Future meetings will be held in connection with the WCC Central Committee meetings. The moderator (Executive Committee Member) of the Youth Body will work with the WCC Youth Programme to prepare and convene the first meeting. At the first meeting the Youth Body will decide how it will continue to work to achieve its objectives and elect a vice-moderator.

5. Composition

The Youth Body is designed to work closely with ecumenical youth organizations in the regions. The WCC Youth Programme will receive direct insights and impulses from the WCC Youth Body. The Youth Body will uniquely gather those from WCC governing bodies and wider representation of other young people active in the ecumenical movement. Bringing together voices from WCC governing bodies along with young people from the broader constituency will facilitate more interaction and accountability.

The Youth Body will consist of twenty-five (25) young people (18-30 years) with the following composition:

  • Young Central Committee members will choose among themselves six (6) people. At least two of them shall be WCC Executive Committee members. The term for the elected young Central Committee members in the Youth Body is until the next Assembly.

  • The Nominations Committee will nominate one young person from each of the following consultative bodies: Faith and Order Plenary Commission, Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, Commission on Ecumenical and Faith Formation, Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC, and Joint Consultative Group between the Pentecostal Churches and the WCC. The Central Committee will elect these six members in the Youth Body, who will serve until the next Assembly.

  • The remaining positions will be filled through a nominations process initiated through the WCC Youth Programme. In this process churches and ecumenical organizations will be asked to submit names of young people active at the grassroots level. This list will be presented to the next Officers' meeting for preliminary approval, and will be confirmed by the Executive Committee in February 2007. The term for these positions will be two (2) years, with the possibility of serving two (2) consecutive terms.

  • In order to expand ecumenical cooperation, WCC Youth Programme will include in the proposal for the Youth Body at least one (1) young person from Catholic youth & student's network and one (1) young person from Pentecostal/evangelical churches.

  • Special consideration will be given to those who are Indigenous and those living with a disability. Confessional, regional and gender balances shall be respected in accordance with WCC guidelines. In the selection process the aim is to involve as many young people in their early twenties and under as possible in the work of the Youth Body.