Pacific Conference of Churches general secretary Rev. James Bhagwan said: “it is possible to adapt, evolve and grow while maintaining all that is good and true from faith, indigenous spirituality and culture.”
Speaking at the launch of the Regional Youth Ecumenical Council, Bhagwan encouraged the young leaders to vision the future that would be their present.
“The present in which you will lead the community, the church, the nation, the region, the planet. It is you the youth, who have the power to define what our tomorrow will look like,'' he said.
The Regional Youth Ecumenical Council was held online after COVID-19 stopped all international travel.
"'It is important to understand the lessons your ancestors of land, sea and faith learned in order to guide you forward. If you do not understand what it is that brought your people and places to this point in time – to where you are, to who you are, how can you forge ahead?'' Bhagwan remarked. “I challenge you to also be wary of the ideas you inherit – to be critical in your thinking and acceptance of old conventions and previous forms, sometimes accepted without question and once accepted, they set a boundary around creativity, around inspiration and around what can be done and what can’t be done,” he added.
Baghwan invited the young people to ponder some complex questions. ”For example, how do we take indigenous knowledge, ancient principles and wisdom and bring that into the future, removing the boundaries and limitations when we place culture into a glass box and make it static? How can our culture evolve? How can we leapfrog from pre-modern to postmodern, from pre-contact oral culture – where we sing, we dance, we weave, into a world where we are now coding?”
The Regional Youth Ecumenical Council has been established to foster intergenerational engagement with church leaders on critical issues and to lead young people in the Pacific in prophetic activism for change.