GYS: Life in the Spirit: Learn, Serve, Worship
“What a unique opportunity to ask, observe and listen more than we speak,” says Christen Kong, Mennonite Church Canada delegate for the Global Youth Summit (GYS), 1-4 July 2022 in Salatiga, Indonesia.
“I am looking forward to meeting other Mennonite youth and documenting the ways they live out their faith. We don’t often get a chance to hear what being a Mennonite means to those far from us. I’m also eager to worship in many different languages!” she says.
Since its inception at the Assembly in Zimbabwe in 2003, the Global Youth Summit (GYS), has given Anabaptist-Mennonite youth from around the world the chance to come together, representing their diverse, local communities and connecting as a single family: one body, the church.
Each GYS delegate represents their national church. Their assignment is to conduct surveys among the young people in their national church. Delegates ask what challenges they are facing, what solutions they suggest to issues, and how they are involved in their church. They also ask questions relating to the theme: Life in the Spirit: Learn, Serve, Worship.
Mennonite Church (MC) Canada selected five representatives: one from each of Mennonite Church Canada’s regional churches. Christen Kong, MC Eastern Canada representative, serves as the official national delegate.
The five MC representatives are supported by a mentor who has previously attended GYS. The mentor helps with collecting information, organizing church visits and guides the delegate to prepare emotionally for the joys and difficulties that can arise by sharing with a large, diverse group of youth delegates. The team worked hard to develop a survey that would collect different voices.
“Youth voices need to be heard by asking them directly,” says Christen Kong.
“Many quotes we gathered from youth expressed not being asked or heard – despite them being in leadership positions – about decisions made in the church. There is a larger discussion about how the Mennonite church can foster more effective approaches to inter-generational dialogue in discovering ways to mentor and inspire youth.”
After arriving to Indonesia, participants at GYS will learn through teaching, interacting, worshipping and playing alongside youth from different cultures and contexts. Days will include worship, workshops, games, music from different countries and time for fellowship with young people from around the world.
“GYS provides one with the opportunity to really open our eyes to the fact that behind all those countries that appear on the map there are brothers and sisters in faith living in diverse social, economic and political contexts. These contexts are the backdrop for specific challenges in each region to which God is responding in unique ways,” says Karina Bogarin, a member of Maranata de los Hermanos Menonitas, Paraguay, and GYS attendee in 2015.
To see all Assembly Gathered proceedings, register at indonesia2022.mwc-cmm.org.
- plenary speakers beamed to you from 5 different sites in Indonesia,
- the international choir singing old favourites and new hits,
- Workshops with scholars and practitioners in the Anabaptist-Mennonite family
- video activities from the children and teen/youth program
- a small group chat room to encounter new and old friends from around the world
- opportunity to pray with brothers and sisters in places of challenge, suffering or joy.