At the fourth meeting of the top level planners on 21st and 22nd September, the planning groups revealed the interim results of their work. Here were the first ideas for the programme of the major events which will be taking place in the Arena, a description of the greeting packet contents and the choices for dormitory accommodation on the Messe premises.
A total of eight planning groups are working together with the executive planners and with other project groups in preparation for the International Youth Convention from 30th May until 2nd June 2019. For example, there are three groups alone involved with plans for the contents of the event. In addition, another planning group is responsible for the music.
Lots of space for the displays and booths
Axel Münster, who is responsible for the booths and displays, gave a report on first thoughts for the layout in the large exhibition hall no. 6, which will be the hall where people will have the chance to meet. This will be the place where each District Apostle region and the district Churches will present themselves. Here, the young people can meet in cafés, and linguistic enclaves will give them the chance to make new contacts.
This time, there will not be a large stage in the 25,000 square metre hall – as there was in 2009, and so that sufficient space is available for the presentations.
Internationality has its limitations
As host of the event, it is of particular interest to District Apostle Rainer Storck that the Youth Convention is truly international and not only a representation of the European district Churches. The non-European District Apostle regions must also be there to present themselves at their display stands. Also, the district Churches across the world which are fostered by Germany should have their say in the programme contents, as far as possible.
However, the District Apostle realises the challenges to be faced for participants of other countries to travel. Travel costs for the youth of countries beyond Europe are very high. Also, the Youth Convention which took place in Spain showed the sort of massive problem which can happen, as a group of young guests from Angola tried to obtain travel visas and enter Spain. The youth group had waited for weeks on end for permission from the embassy and then had to sit for hours in Lisbon at the customs point.
As District Apostle Storck said, “Although we wish for a larger international participation, we have to focus on that which is possible”. The International Youth Convention will be on the agenda of the next international District Apostles’ meeting.
Effects and music
The major events taking place in the Arena will be something special. The Youth Convention starts here on the Friday morning with the opening ceremony. Ben-Jamin Otten presented the first ideas on behalf of the “Arena” project group. The group is planning to use various effects and lots of music, especially to make the Saturday evening programme an emotional occasion.
The planning group responsible for the music is just as busy in its preparations and looks forward to the replies from many solo and group artists, all with the desire to shape the musical programme. The exhibition halls will have a variety of stages erected for this purpose. There will also be the chance to perform spontaneous street music.
From the youth for the youth
The “contents” planning group is also waiting for programme ideas to come from the youth. Philipp Unruh gave the news that programme ideas can be sent in through the internet website from the end of October. As he said, “We would like to see as many items for the programme from the young Christians as possible.”
It is hoped that as many participants to the International Youth Convention as possible will sleep on the premises. “Those who sleep there will also have more time to take part in the programme”, as Wolfgang Wegener, who heads the “youth camp” planning group, said. There will be 24,000 sleeping spaces available in the halls, for which sufficient sanitary facilities must be provided. As the project group leader further explained, “And we must also ensure enough hot shower water is provided.”
National and international IYC ambassadors
A major topic of the second day’s meeting was the greetings packet, which each participant is to receive on arrival. Frank Schuldt, of the “communications” planning group, introduced the first ideas and named particular items for the packets. He also presented a concept of how the survey of input contributions would be promoted within the district Churches. In addition, by 2019, so-called “ambassadors” from various countries will be sought to bring attention to the International Youth Convention.
As the two day meeting came to its end, Apostle Franz-Wilhelm Otten was satisfied with the results so far produced. “We are going in the right direction”, he said. The foundation has been laid over the past months through the motto, proclaimed by the Chief Apostle, the key visual, the internet website and the app. Now, all the planning groups have a basis on which they can build.