Ecumenical Youth Gathering
- About the Ecumenical Youth Gathering
- Background & Theme
- Practical info & FAQ
- Youth in the ecumenical movement
- 11th Assembly of the WCC
The Ecumenical Youth Gathering (EYG) is part of the global celebration that will be held prior to the assembly. The EYG is the umbrella event of and the official name to be used for all youth-led, youth-focused activities and to refer to the following: the Stewards Programme, the Pre-Assembly Youth, and other activities for young people.
The EYG will be held on 27-30 August 2022 before the WCC 11th Assembly. Around 400 young people from member churches and ecumenical partners will gather for this event. It is envisaged that it will provide an open and inclusive space for youth-led and intergenerational dialogue and consultation with young people to strategize together a common message that will be brought forward to the assembly. This event also aims to help frame a more inclusive agenda for the ecumenical movement, moving forward.
Young people, 35 years old and below, have experienced exclusion from decision-making bodies. Youth have a great potential to be positive agents within the churches and beyond them; nonetheless, tergiversate narratives and intergenerational differences have generated mistrust.
Young people -both in church and society- have been at the forefront of social, political, economic, and environmental issues while creating their own spaces of dialogue to confront such realities (WCC 2021). WCC has seen notable contributions of young engaged people and recognizes the need to include their voices in decision-making processes, programs and gatherings.
Many young people are shying away from affiliating themselves with religious institutions; however, their spirituality remains (Pew Center 2018). Young people from WCC agree that they see the church becoming less prophetic in addressing pressing global and local issues. Yet, reformation is possible by recognizing the prophetic call “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity”—and young people being part of it.
The EYG 2022 brings an opportunity for the World Council of Churches to build back better the necessary intergenerational trust, youth empowerment and shared responsibility on the church mission (Amba 1990: 235). The gathering is a demonstration of WCC and its young community to engage its global network of young people and sister organizations in order to influence the outcomes of the assembly and the response of the churches through the voice of 400 participants who are addressing current global and local issues.
Christ’s love reconciles and restores young people in the church and the society
We have been facing a crisis of divisions among ourselves, with others and within the created world. The current pandemic only widened the rift between the divisions and deepened fundamental questions on the climate emergency, worldwide racism, structural economic inequalities, gender discrimination, and other forms of injustice in our societies and in our world.
In this fragmented world in which we live, young people in the ecumenical movement want to affirm that Christ’s love reconciles and restores humankind and oikos from ignorance, stereotype, distortion, discrimination and violence, by participating in sincere encounters together with openness for diversity and acceptance of differences. We are reconciled with God through the cross. This reflects the reconciliation we have between sisters and brothers, and the whole oikos.
Under the theme “Christ’s love reconciles and restores young people in the church and the society,” we will focus on emerging issues of young people with three sub-themes: Reconciliation with ourselves, Reconciliation with others; and Reconciliation with oikos. It will lead to wider dialogues, including mental health and identity within individuals, intergenerational work, ecumenical and interreligious tensions, violation of human rights, destruction of the environment, and respect for diversity, among others.