Youth representing the World Council of Churches (WCC) addressed the theme of justice and peace at the 16th Baptist Youth World Conference in Singapore. Justice and peace remain a concern for the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), according to organizers of the conference, which brought together more than 2,000 young Baptists in Singapore.
Ann Katrin Hergert, WCC intern in the Communication department, and Jec Borlado, member of the WCC’s Echos - Commission on youth in the ecumenical movement, represented the WCC at the Baptist Youth World Conference, 17 to 21 July, in Singapore.
Addressing the theme “reach”, the conference provided young participants an opportunity for a “spiritual encounter with the living Christ through vibrant worship, faithful proclamation of inspired scriptures, focused training and shared experiences.”
Hergert from Switzerland and Borlado from the Philippines introduced the WCC’s 10th Assembly to the young participants in Singapore. The WCC assembly will be held from 30 October to 8 November in Busan, Republic of Korea, with the theme “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”.
Topics significant for the BWA, justice and peace were discussed in several seminars at the Singapore conference. An event titled “Why Peace? Whose Justice?” featured Raimundo Barreto of the BWA as speaker. He stressed that “Baptists were born in diversity”, and “in such an environment” it is “necessary that we work for justice and peace”.
While offering greetings on behalf of the WCC, Hergert and Borlado asked the conference participants to engage with the WCC assembly. Apart from coming to Busan, they asked them to contribute their ideas and prayers by joining the WCC 10th Assembly on Facebook and Twitter.
Speaking on her experience of participating in the conference, Hergert said that she was “moved and impressed by the energy of this event”. “The Christian diversity celebrated in different performances, speeches and worship services was powerful and intriguing.”
Hergert said the “conference discussed issues, needs, interests and hopes of young people at the BWA and beyond.” She called the conference a “positive learning experience”.
She went on to say the theme “reach” implies reaching up to “God for guidance, love, advice, care as well as reaching out to the people around us, our friends, our church and the society.” These steps are part of the efforts of the churches towards justice and peace, said Hergert.
Borlado, from the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, said that taking part in the conference meant “witnessing joy with the youth”. He added that through different activities, he had learned how effectively youth can engage in the life and work of the churches.