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Indigenous Youth pre-conference

The Indigenous Youth Pre-Conference in Arusha

Moving in the Spirit: Indigenisation as Transforming Discipleship

5-7 March 2018

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Mission Statement Together Towards Life articulates very clearly the theological understanding that mission is lived and practiced at and from the margins, and that God empowers the vulnerable, the poor and marginalised to be primary agents in God’s mission. The Conference on World Mission and Evangelism in Arusha Tanzania, therefore, is an opportunity to highlight the role and agency of marginalised groups such as Indigenous Peoples in doing God’s mission. In particular, it is an opportunity to specifically profile Indigenous youth and the gifts they bring to mission. Given that the the conference is characterised as a younger mission leaders’ conference, it is important that Indigenous youth visibly and meaningfully participate in making that vision a reality. The Indigenous Youth Pre-Conference in Arusha is very significant for these reasons, in addition to providing space for their continuing leadership development and ecumenical formation. As the conference is held in Africa, more than half of the Pre-Conference delegates are from Indigenous communities in Africa itself including from within Tanzania.

The WCC Indigenous Peoples’ Programme is making a clear commitment to prioritise ministry with Indigenous Youth as a highly marginalised group in our churches and societies. The continuing struggles of Indigenous Peoples worldwide to survive on-going atrocities are most starkly evident amongst Indigenous youth and children vulnerable to racist bullying, domestic violence, sexual abuse, human trafficking, and substance abuse/addiction. Suicides amongst Indigenous youth are common experiences in Indigenous communities around the world. The urgent need to respond to their call for justice, healing and wholeness is a key reason for focusing this particular pre-conference on Indigenous Youth.

Through Bible studies, keynotes, interactive small group work, and creative artistic engagement, twenty Indigenous Youth from Africa and around the globe will explore the theme Moving in the Spirit: Indigenisation as Transforming Discipleship, and study together Christ’s mission at and from the margins according to Luke 4:16-21. The delegates will be reflecting on the relationship between justice and discipleship; the Biblical understanding of God’s preferential option for the poor and its implication for the agency and discipleship of the marginalised; how Indigenous struggles for justice can inform and shape discipleship; the implication of upholding the dignity of the Indigenous person for transforming discipleship; and the meaning of transforming discipleship for Indigenous youth.

With the support of the Arusha-based African Culture Theatre Company, the Indigenous delegates will also learn and rehearse artistic items for the Mission from the Margins Plenary (Sat 10 March 10:30-12:00), and for the Sokoni/Marketplace centre stage (Mon 12 March 3:30-7:45pm), as part of their contribution to and participation in the conference. They will participate in the Mission from the Margins Warshas/Workshop (Fri 9 & Sat 10 March 2-3:30pm) as resource persons and provide logistical support.

Expected Outcome
The content and activities of the pre-conference will frame and shape a short Indigenous Youth Message to the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, as well as inform some forward planning and strategising for the on-going contribution to and active participation of the Ecumenical Indigenous Youth Network (EIYN) in the work of the WCC and the whole ecumenical movement. In particular, the EIYN participation in the WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in the lead up to General Assembly 2021, and more immediately, the gathering of Indigenous Youth for a Pre-Conference prior to the Global Indigenous Spirituality and Reconciliation Conference in the Pacific, July 2018.

Hence, this Indigenous Youth Pre-Conference intends to:

  • Deepen Indigenous youth understanding of their role in God’s mission from the margins
  • Engage with the theme and program of the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism to ensure deepening and expanding missiological understanding
  • Form a cohesive presence of Indigenous voices and perspectives for the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism
  • Ensure high quality theological, spiritual, and creative artistic contribution to the WMC
  • Strengthen Indigenous youth confidence for active participation in the work of the WCC
  • Outline strategies for participating in the WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in lead up to General Assembly 2021
  • Outline plans for the Indigenous Youth Pre-Conference in the Pacific, July 2018

Pre-Conference Details
The Indigenous Youth Pre-Conference will be held at the MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MS TCDC), a few kilometres from the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism venue, from the evening of Mon 5 March until the evening Wed 7 March, at which point half will be moved to the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge and half will stay on at the MS TCDC for the duration of the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism from 8-13March. There will be twenty Indigenous youth delegates, plus three resource persons, with the African Culture Theatre Company in attendance.

MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation:
PO Box 254, Arusha, Tanzania
Phone: +255 272 541 044/ 6/ 8
Fax: +255 272 541 042

Dowload the Indigenous Youth PreConference Program (pdf, 169 kb)