Perhaps a chance encounter, a moment from the divine service or the sensation of being together among the celebrations of the 30,000 in the Arena: a very personal highlight. A particular project group has been working hard so that the large events on the programme of the International Youth Convention 2019 (IYC) can bring such special highlights for many of the youth.
The programme will fill the IYC Guide with many things, such as workshops, concerts, lectures and discussion sessions, to give the participants plenty to choose from. It will provide the chance for everyone to search for the things which interest them most and so to put their own individual programme together. Everyone will gather to be at the large events in the Arena to celebrate together and that’s why it will have a special impact; the responsible project group is certain of this.
The working group
Apostle Jeannot Leibfried, from France, Bishop Peter Jeram, from Austria, Bishop i.r. Georg Kaltschmitt, from Southern Germany, Evangelist Jens Lange, from Berlin-Brandenburg, District Evangelist Rienhold Wegner, District Evangelist i.r. Uwe Grünberg Ben-Jamin Otten and the group leader, Priest David Otten, from Western Germany – these are the members of the team which make up the project group for the Arena. Each one of them has taken on the responsibility for a part of the Arena and programme organisation. They have been meeting regularly to coordinate their tasks and to answer outstanding questions and problems.
While Reinhold Wegner is responsible for implementing the technical requirements put before him by the other team members, Apostle Leibfried and Bishop Jeram are organising the prelude programme to Sunday’s divine service. Bishop i.r. Kaltschmitt and Evangelist Lange are planning the programme for Saturday evening and Ben-Jamin and David Otten together head the group and are putting their ideas toward the opening and closing events.
As Jens Lange explained, the ideas and their implementation which have kept them busy have mainly come from the youth. “Bishop Kaltschmitt and I had asked the youth from Southern Germany and Berlin-Brandenburg whether they would like to help us. We have now established a core group of seven or eight young members who not only accord well with each other, but also add very positively to the organisation.” David Otten added, “They also communicate regularly with our other brothers and sisters. It is very important for us to actively integrate the youth and for them to take on some of the responsibilities.”
The central theme
Each of the major events on the programme should be imprinted with the motto Here I am. It is the central focus upon which the International Youth Convention 2019 is based and joins everything together. Going a stage further, the youth who cannot be in Düsseldorf due to travel restrictions or financial limitations will nevertheless be present at the IYC through the use of digital media. David Otten explained, “In order to connect the youth from across the world with the IYC we are planning activities where we can link everyone together at the opening event on Friday morning – exactly how it’s going to look like is going to be a surprise, but each and every one of the youth should have the feeling; I am here, I am a part of it. As it will say at the opening ceremony - Here I am: I belong here, I will be received by my God and by the community.”
The pop oratorio, which has previously been performed in the district churches of North Rhine-Westphalia and Northern and Eastern Germany, will be performed once again on Friday. Will it be worthwhile coming again for those who have already seen it? “Absolutely yes,” said David otten: “The pop oratorio has been re-written in the English language to make it internationally understandable for everyone. It will also be performed in a very different setting from before. It will certainly be more emotional to see the pop oratorio in the Düsseldorf Arena than in one of the buildings where it was previously performed.” David Otten continued, “It also plays a part of the central theme. In the pop oratorio Jesus says, ‘Here I am’ to the youth; it is therefore a promise of Jesus, and in the programme on Saturday evening it will be the youth who will respond with the answer, “Here I am. Here is something which I can do; I can take on responsibility in my church and in my faith. In the divine service the motto will certainly also be present; exactly how is entirely up to the Chief Apostle, and in the closing event it will also say ‘Here I am’; I have come here, with all my emotions and now I will return home and will take everything which I have experienced with me.”
The 3 emotions
Ben-Jamin and David Otten, the organisers of the opening and closing ceremonies on Friday and Sunday respectively (Sunday after the divine service), have drawn up their plans together with the youth from England, South Africa and from across Germany. Much of their plan remains secret; for instance exactly how the opening ceremony will be. David Otten didn’t give any information away. One thing is certain – the Chief Apostle will open the Youth Convention and the IYC song will sound for the first time, and in different musical styles. There will also be dancers and actors who will depict the three emotions; joy, sadness and uncertainty – emotions which the youth will be bringing with them to the Convention. They will appear from three corners of the Arena toward the centre. The fourth corner will firstly remain empty; it will symbolise the many other emotions which the youth may be feeling at that moment. The path from the four compass directions which meet at the centre also show: we have come here from all corners of the world, but we have come together here and we want to get to know each other. David Otten explained how the idea arose. “We thought about what the youth all had in common. They all have their emotions: we will approach the centre of the Arena, where later the altar will stand, with these emotions. When I come with sadness I will be fetched. When I am filled with joy I will be spoken to. The third emotion is uncertainty, with perhaps some indifference, because I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Maybe I’m uncertain whether this is really my faith; I’m not sure of the direction I’m going in. I will also be fetched in my uncertainty. These emotions will again be addressed in the closing ceremony. They are therefore present throughout the IYC. At the end it will be clear: something has happened to me over the past couple of days. I have met with God at the altar and my emotions have changed. It could be that the Youth Convention has changed something in me which I will take with me for the future.”
While the opening ceremony is going to be brimming with emotion, setting the mood for the youth of belonging together and celebration of the Youth Convention, the accent of the closing ceremony is planned to be much more gentle. It will be a tranquil fade-out, in no way competing with the divine service which will have just been experienced with the Chief Apostle.
The 5 continents
“#HereThereEverywhere – Jesus the light in us”: that’s the title of the programme item for Saturday evening. Evangelist Lange and Bishop i.r. Kaltschmitt have decided on the five continents and the theme of light as the main elements of the event. The audience will discover information about the continents through a journey around the world in video clips. These clips have been made about the home countries of the youth from all over the world. They are each an appeal to the IYC participants of things which matter to that continent. Jens Lange explained the concept. “When we look at Africa, we have put the subject of nature conservation and preservation of creation to the foreground; for America the subject is the multitude of Christian denominations, and for Europe it will most probably be safeguarding Christianity. We haven’t decided on a subject yet for Asia and Australia. We will be producing the contents with the close cooperation of the youth from their continents, because the subjects mustn’t be those which we, as Europeans, consider. They are those which are also of importance to the youth who live there.
In the preliminary programme we will show a summary of brief video clips which the youth had previously sent us; perhaps running in a loop. We are celebrating the diversity of the church worldwide, whereby we can learn from each other. At the end of the evening we will have produced five ‘to do’s’ which the youth can take with them: ‘Here I am’ – for Christian values, for my Lord, for nature ...”
Apostle Leibfried and Bishop Jeram have given much thought to preparations for the divine service on Sunday morning. There is a difficulty, due to the youth who will still be entering the Arena shortly before the service is due to start, and, on the other hand, the participants who should be able to prepare themselves in a calm and devotional manner leading up to the start of the service. Therefore, it is planned for a band to play music one and a half hours before the start time for half an hour long. This will be followed by a selection of musical and poetry slam renditions with the motto Here I amin English, German and French up to the service start. A video will also be shown with impressions of the IYC, as the Bishop explained, “Sunday will be the highlight with the divine service, but it is also the day of farewells. It would be good if there was the chance to look back over what has happened in the past few days.”
3 questions to themembers of the working group:
spirit: How much time have you spent in planning for the IYC?
Priest David Otten: “60 to 70 hours each month.”
Evangelist Jens Lange: “I reckon with at least one and a half days per week. That is about 40 to 50 hours per month. The closer the IYC approaches, the more it will increase, and because there are also very many volunteer helpers and employees it is extending into the weekends and evenings.”
What motivates you?
Bishop Peter Jeram:“We are working for the future of our congregations. I really see the IYC as a starting event.”
Evangelist Jens Lange:“I am motivated because working with the youth is not only fun, but it is also creative and with everything which we must bring with us, it gives me energy; perhaps not so much energy as I expire, but it is a significant level which the youth have given me, and when we come to Düsseldorf it’s going to burst!”
Please complete the sentence: “I am looking forward to the IYC because ...“
District Evangelist Reinhold Wegner: “ I am looking forward to the IYC because our dear heavenly Father has given me the chance to help in the preparation work and then to get to know Him better through the experience of the IYC.”
Bishop Peter Jeram:“ I am looking forward to the IYC because I will feel and absorb the living faith of our youth there.”
Apostle Jeannot Leibfried:“ I am especially looking forward to the IYC because the church also belongs to the youth.”
Evangelist Jens Lange:“I find it very exciting to celebrate a colourful feast of faith with the youth, and then to learn how the puzzle pieces of the impulse which we find here will be met in the future in our congregations. I am looking forward eagerly to see how the pieces fit.”
Priest David Otten:“I am looking forward to the living Here I am of the youth in all its facets, its diversity, in all the different experiences from across the world which we will bring with us, and that we are able to use this means to shape the future and to find this electrifying young faith at the IYC.”
Text freely translated from: "Spirit – the young magazine for New Apostolic Christians", edition no. 06|18, pages 28 - 31 © 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 is the tenth article in a series of twelve planned.