Rainer Storck, as hosting District Apostle, will be hoping to welcome more than 30,000 youth and their counsellors in Düsseldorf to the International Youth Convention. He spoke in an interview about the preparations being made and from his expectations and wishes for this major event.
District Apostle Storck; have you already been thinking about the International Youth Convention (IYC) 2019 today?
District Apostle Rainer Storck (laughs): Yes, but not directly as I woke up.
What are you responsible for as the hosting District Apostle?
W e have formed a non-profit limited liability company, which is organising the finances and administration. The three district churches in Germany, Northern and Eastern Germany, Southern Germany and Western Germany are partners in that company. It also contains a multitude of planning groups. I attend the meetings of the planning executive regularly, so that I can keep myself up-to-date and add an input from the District Apostle meetings. I see my task as supporting, as management and, should the situation arise, as helping to resolve conflicts.
What are the biggest challenges facing the planners?
In making the International Youth Convention international. Many people imagine that by inviting everyone to come to the International Youth Convention in Düsseldorf the whole world will be there. That is simply not possible. The costs are very high and there are complications with visa formalities. We must say goodbye to the idea that ten thousand youth from other continents will be coming, but we are still going in the right direction to make the event international by inviting smaller groups of the youth from other countries beyond Europe. It is proving to be a truly big challenge to make the “I” really live up to its title.
What do you wish for at the International Youth Convention?
It is very important for me that the young people return to their congregations with a feeling of security; with the certainty – this is my church: not in the sense that we are exclusive or elite, but rather - this is the church in which I feel at home. This is the church which I want to play a part in: this the church in which I place my trust and would also accompany my children later in their religious upbringing.
Will the youth who can’t come to Düsseldorf be able to take part in the divine service?
Yes. There won’t be a satellite broadcast, because the Chief Apostle will be holding the service for Pentecost a week later in Goslar, which will be internationally broadcast, but we, and the District Apostles from other continents, are considering whether we could provide a live stream in internet for certain parts of the programme.
How much is the IYC going to cost?
We are planning for a cost volume of around nine million euros to cover the complete event.
The single most expensive item is certainly going to be the rental?
Yes. It will take up almost 20 per cent of the total sum. That isn’t really so much for this type of event. The Messe (exhibition) company has been very fair with the price. It’s no more expensive than ten years ago. Next are the catering costs; these are, again, also almost 20 per cent. We must consider that we are feeding 35,000 young people over three days. You can’t imagine how many truck loads will be needed to deliver the food and to sustain so many participants. Again, these costs have stayed at the same level as they were ten years ago. Then, we need the equipment required for the different events. These are the main expenses which we have to meet.
Will the costs be covered by the entry fees?
The answer to that is quite easy to work out. When 30,000 participants each pay 125 euros we will take in around 3.75 million euros. That won’t even meet half of the costs.
Where will the remaining six million euros come from?
The District Apostles will forego their own youth conventions for 2019. As a consequence the money saved will flow into the IYC budget. We are also dependent on benevolent support. We are hoping to find sponsors who can help with larger sums, and a bank account for donations has also been opened, where parents or grandparents can donate small sums. We must also not underestimate our youth, who have started raising money through various activities in their congregations, not only to pay for their own way to the IYC, but also to help others. For example, they are taking on work of others in the congregation, or are organising bazaars and the money they receive is sent to the donation account.
There could be some who perhaps think:What good will my few euros do to help the huge sum required?
Indeed! The small sums add together will bring a significantly larger amount. The finances will be greatly helped by the donations of the many.
What will the youth receive from their 125 euro entry fee?
Accommodation, food and drink for three and a half days and entry to all the programme events. It also includes the pop oratorio. We also want to give those who are exclusively interested in the pop oratorio the chance to be live there, for which an entry fee must be paid. This will also help toward the finances.
The youth are called upon to invite their friends who aren’t New Apostolic to join them at the IYC. Do they also have to pay the entry fee?
Yes, everyone who takes part must pay, including the Chief Apostle, the Apostles and also the helpers. I must also pay my way. I won’t actually be sleeping in one of the dormitories, but will have a room in an adjacent hotel which I will pay for myself.
You mentioned helpers. How can those interested help?
We need help in organising the dormitory halls; to ensure that the situation across the exhibition grounds remains enjoyable for everyone – a little bit like a street worker. We want to give the youth as much freedom as possible, but when boundaries spill over we need someone who can talk with the youth and de-escalate the situation. We also need helpers at the workshops and the performances: seating plans must be changed to fit the event, perhaps a stage must be erected or a circular seating plan or rows of seats set up. We need helpers to serve at the catering points. All these things require volunteer support. We would like to offer spiritual counselling, not only with church ministers, but also with sisters who can listen and talk – you have a problem? You can talk to me.
Where and from when can people register themselves to help?
Registration is through the home page and has started in late Summer. Participants can also register, until the end of February 2019, in groups. Participants will still be able to receive individual entry cards up to the beginning of the IYC. The onsite ticket office will also open for last-minute decision makers.
Interview - freely translated from an article in the German "Unsere Familie" magazine
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