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Christian youth movements call for signs of unity

A number of major international Christian youth movements and organizations called for stronger efforts towards unity in a joint statement issued on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Addressed to the heads of the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches, Christian World Communions and Regional Ecumenical Organizations, the statement asks them to "share ecumenical dialogue with young people" and expresses the commitment of the signatories to "raise awareness of the importance of Christian unity among young people".

23 January 2008

On the 6th day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
23 January 2008

 

Christian youth organizations call on the heads of the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches, Christian World Communions and Regional Ecumenical Organizations to share ecumenical dialogue with young people

Responding to Jesus Christ's call "that they may all be one," we, representatives of organizations bringing together Christian youth, met on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. We affirm the importance of this expression of unity and celebrate that young people have always been pioneers of the movement for ecumenism.

Since the nineteenth century, youth have been praying for unity through, for instance, the World YMCA and YWCA Week of Prayer and World Fellowship and the WSCF Universal Day of Prayer for Students.

Now, for the first time, our organizations have issued a joint call to prayer and action to encourage young people worldwide to come together and express Christian unity at local and national levels.

While we know that you, as senior church leaders, are committed to Christian unity, we still experience disunity among Christians. For example, many of us feel pain when we are not able to celebrate the Eucharist together and be united at the Lord's Table.

Millions of young people around the world from different denominations are working together to express our faith through service to communities and each other. Young people have a strong desire to respond to the Gospel. United by the need to respond to today's pressing concerns, young Christians are collectively addressing HIV and AIDS, climate change, social, gender, and economic equity, and many other issues, bringing God's message of hope and reconciliation to a fragmented, hurting world.

We call on all Christians to:

  • focus on that which unites us and work together in a spirit of openness and respect;
  • build on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity through concrete actions among Christians around the world and
  • involve more young people in dialogue for Christian unity.

We call on church leaders to share ecumenical dialogue with young people.

We, as representatives of organizations bringing together Christian youth, commit to:

  • raise awareness of the importance of Christian unity among young people, including members of our organizations;
  • develop joint activities among young people that respond to social issues and
  • deepen cooperation amongst our organizations as a model of Christian unity.

Signed by:

●       International Catholic Conference of Guiding (ICCG)

●       International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth (MIJARC) www.mijarc.org 

●       International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS-Pax Romana) www.imcs-miec.org 

●       International Young Catholic Students (IYCS) www.iycs-jeci.org

●       The Lutheran World Federation - LWF Youth www.lwfyouth.org

●       World Alliance of YMCAs (World YMCA) www.ymca.int

●       World Council of Churches Youth Desk www.ecumenicalyouth.org 

●       World Young Women's Christian Association (World YWCA)  www.worldywca.org

●       World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) http://www.wscfglobal.org/


Lord,

You are the creator, the everlasting one.
when all is said and done, and everything is gone,
Lord you are all we want.
 
Give us love for each other - love that breaks
ethnicity, race, tribe and culture.
 
Give us peace that is passed through every country in every continent.
 
Give us a youthful energetic passion to reach out as young people
and be a generation that seeks after you and causes an impact in an ailing world.
 
Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts,
let us never lift our souls to anything apart from you.
 
Give us strength to soar above the storms and
gentleness to walk on with one another.
 
Thank you because you are faithful and you hear us when we call…
Amen.

 by Laura Wachira, Kenya