As Apostle Franz-Wilhelm Otten said in an interview conducted by the German magazine „spirit“, the success of the International Youth Convention 2019 (IYC) largely depends on the enterprise of the participants and helpers. What can the youth and the congregations do beforehand so that the convention remains an unforgettable experience for all who are there?
“There must definitely be a football tournament at the IYC” - “I would like to see a workshop for the inclusion of people with handicaps in the congregation” - “We would like to sing with our youth choir there”. If you already know what you would like to see at the International Youth Convention 2019, or you would like to be active yourself, now’s the time to act. The youth have been able to send in their ideas and suggestions for the programme since October 2017, for presentations, music or any other programme item via the IYC 2019 website under the link “Taking part”. Evangelist Philipp Unruh said, “The most important thing for us is that the youth can put their fantasy to use”. He is a member of the project group for programme contents and he appealed to the youth, “Make use of this opportunity and make the IYC YOUR Youth Convention!”
The IYC cannot be successful on its own with just ideas and programme entries: it will also require practical help. Annika is studying Spanish and could imagine looking after some of the youth from Latin America. Ruth was at the European Youth Day in 2009 as a helper and now, in retirement, has the wish to support some of the youth who would like to come to the IYC 2019 but don’t have the financial means. Hannes and Isabelle both definitely want to be at this great event and would like to register themselves as soon as possible. Hendrik Hermann, the IYC project manager, explained when and where the four will be able to find the required information and register. “Helpers and participants can register themselves directly from the home page of the IYC 2019 from late summer of 2018”, he said. The website has a link, “Supporting”, for potential helpers for this purpose. Apostle Otten said in the “spirit” interview that with more than 30,000 participants it will be an expensive event. Therefore, not only is financial support a wish but rather a necessity. For all who wish to add their support, the information regarding donations can also be found under the “Supporting” link.
Looking for specialists
If you have professional editorial, translation or graphic design qualifications and you would like to put your voluntary services to the good for the IYC 2019, you can send your application in now. You will find the respective advertisements which can be downloaded under the “Jobs” link, with the appropriate contact details to send your applications. Various tasks await you there: for example, (1) report compilation for the IYC website and other media and (2) the production of graphical information and media support throughout the IYC 2019. If interested, you can state whether you prefer to work before, during or in the follow-up to the IYC 2019. Andrea Schnizer, responsible for the IYC editorial in the communication project group, encouraged those with editorial experience to send their applications in now. As she said, “We are in the preparation stage now and we could make good use some energetic and creative support!”
Dennis und Lara would like to add their own item to the programme but aren’t sure what. In putting their thoughts together they ask themselves: what would we like to see on the programme in Düsseldorf? Is there a particular topic which we have often wanted to discuss with others in a group? What style of music associated with the Church don’t we hear enough of? These are exactly the sort of brainstorming questions to ask, according to Philipp Unruh. The wish of the programme contents project group is that the youth make their time in Düsseldorf into a colourful festivity of their faith, setting an accent for the future. For that reason, the group hasn’t placed any rules or conditions in the way of programme entries. As Philipp Unruh continued, the project group sees the chance at the IYC 2019 of acting on the wish of the Chief Apostle, as he called, in one of his divine services, on New Apostolic Christians to set the scene for the Church of tomorrow. That can only happen “when we orientate ourselves on the needs of the future”.
The project group’s wish is for the youth to freely discuss amongst themselves and with the not so young brothers and sisters about possible projects and programme contributions, perhaps finding ideas which haven’t previously been included in other youth conventions. All forms of event items are welcome and can be sent in, whether they are as workshops, musical events, a poetry slam or a devotional item led by the youth. That doesn’t mean, for example, that each and every controversial question raised in a discussion group must be answered with an official positioning statement of the New Apostolic Church. Contentious issues can be raised just as they are and doctrinal statements need not only be approached through a presentation but could also be the matter for a group discussion. Today, where everyone is networked through social media, rooms can be created for chatting and social contact – especially between young people who have nothing to do with each other in their everyday lives. Even if you have a great idea, but can’t put it into action yourself – send it in. Philipp Unruh promised, “We will look it over and perhaps have the chance to put it to use as a project for one of the other district Churches”.
Almost boundless choices
Are there any limitations? “Yes, there is just one: the contents must not contradict Christian values and the New Apostolic faith, but that is self-evident”, as Philipp Unruh said. Of course, each item will be scrutinised to see that it lies within the general conditions for Düsseldorf, that it can be performed and that there is someone who is willing and competent to carry it out. When these conditions have been met much is possible. “For instance, there will be some small stages around the premises where young musicians can perform. They could be anything from rock guitarists, to rappers, up to brass bands”, said Philipp Unruh. He isn’t worried about unfitting entries coming in. “The online survey in 2017 showed that there are many young people with lots of interest in church-related topics specific to their faith. We are very eager to find out how the youth will use their imagination to put these topics into practice from their Christian perspective”.
Keeping the motto in mind
The youths’ entries should have some connection with the motto “Here I am”, whereby this connection can be relatively loose. “The youth who want to be involved in playing their part for the Church, who want to put their ideas into action within their congregations are saying, “Here I am!” said Philipp Unruh, who hopes that the openness for new ideas which the youth will be putting into the youth convention will also find their way into the congregations. “The ideas and initiative of the youth must not be allowed to trickle away after the IYC. There is no guarantee that we can foster these impulses in all cases into the New Apostolic everyday, but we in the contents project group will do all that we can to help”, he said. Programme items and ideas can be sent in up to the end of September 2018; still enough time for the youth to come together, to put their ideas into fascinating action and not only to take in the International Youth Convention 2019, but also to shape it!
Text freely translated from: "Spirit – the young magazine for New Apostolic Christians", edition no. 06|17, pages 20 - 21 © Verlag Friedrich Bischoff GmbH, Neu-Isenburg (author: Annette Conrad)
The magazine “Spirit” has been publishing news and facts about the International Youth Convention since March 2017 under the heading “IYC Countdown". This the fourth article in a series of 12 planned.