The Youth Pre-assembly set the agenda for youth work in India for the next four years, with an intent to follow up together with WCC youth engagement. Intergenerational dialogue was key in the Youth Pre-assembly interaction during which youth affirmed their faith and convened spirited dialogue.
Dinesh Suna, coordinator of the WCC Ecumenical Water Network and a co-organiser of the event, said: “Participating in the NCCI Youth Pre-assembly was very special to me, as I was the NCCI programme executive for youth in the year 2000. I encouraged the people to promote Blue Communities in their churches and universities, by defending human right to water, by saying ‘no’ to bottled water and saying ‘no’ to privatisation of water."
He further assured the participants of all possible help with their advocacy with UN and governments through the WCC Ecumenical Water Network.
In a keynote address, Joy Eva Bohol, WCC programme executive for Youth Engagement in the Ecumenical Movement, reflected on the climate emergency.
“Our house is burning!” she said. “We are facing many sins of profound injustice, like the issues you mentioned in our short activity, such as casteism, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, colonialism, economic exploitation, the unequal distribution of power and resources, and the corruption of our relationships with creation, alongside so many kinds of alienation.”
These sins push people apart from one another, Bohol added. “Although young people under 35 make up more than half of the world’s population, the cultural and intergenerational differences discourage them from fully using their capabilities and building up their self-esteem,” she said. “Despite youth having a great potential to be positive agents within the churches and beyond them, a shift in narratives and perceptions have generated mistrust among generations.”
Bohol also reflects on the theme of the pre-assembly. “The hour has come: the hour of building a world of sustainability and peace is now,” she said. “In these days at the pre-assembly, you will go deeper into the issues of the signs of the times—issues that impact us and the whole of creation.”
Asher Noah, executive secretary of the Youth Commission of the National Council of Churches in India, was the organizer of the Pre-Youth Assembly.
Angelious Michael, Director of India Peace Centre, urged the youth to be informed and educated about issues around them and to work towards peace.