Brazil: Youth giving a special flavor to the LWF communion

27 Jul 2023

Discovering their special gifts, strengthening relations among young people in Brazil and realizing their connectedness in the global Lutheran communion were vital aspects of the recent national youth gathering.

Brazil Congrenaje - stage

Natan de Oliveira Schumann, IECLB National Council of Evangelical Youth coordinator, addressing the young people gathered for the CONGRENAJE. Photo: LWFYouth 

More than 1,200 Brazilian and international youth gather for the CONGRENAJE 

The 25th Congresso Nacional da Juventude Evangélica (CONGRENAJE), the national synod meeting of youth in the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB), brought together more than 1,200 participants in Domingos Martins, Espírito Santo, from 16 to 20 July. 

The CONGRENAJE, which takes place every two years, had the theme “What is your essence?” and referred to Ephesians 5:2b: “Christ loved us and gave his life for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Worship and many of the event’s Bible studies subsequently took up passages related to fragrances and aromas, unfolding their biblical significance and implications for the lives of young people today. 

Addressing the participants, the National Council of Evangelical Youth coordinator, Natan de Oliveira Schumann, emphasized the importance of the CONGRENAJE in bringing together youth from many regions. He also referred to the 200th anniversary of Lutheran presence in Brazil in 2024, highlighting the need to reflect on what is essential and lasting in these changing times. 

We have to ask ourselves: What is essential, what does not change over time?

– Natan de Oliveira Schumann, IECLB National Council of Evangelical Youth coordinator

“The theme of our gathering and the anniversary of the IECLB relate well,” Schumann said. “Looking back at 50 years of CONGRENAJE and 200 years of Lutheran presence in Brazil, we have to ask ourselves: What is essential, what does not change over time?” 

During the CONGRENAJE opening service, IELCB President Rev. Sílvia Beatrice Genz spoke about Martha, Mary and Lazarus, to highlight the importance of living the essence of Christ’s love in everyday life. 

“Jesus brought the essence of love into our world,” Genz said. “During this gathering, you will ask yourselves what your essence is. Remember that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the keys to eternal life. May we hold on to Jesus and pour out the precious essence of God’s love.”

Brazil Congrenaje - banner

Youth from ten LWF member churches presented a banner they created. It represents their “essence” as a group and shows their shared identity, symbols to represent the work of their churches, and a globe with a flower native to each of their countries underneath - representing both their diversity and their connection. Photo: LWF Youth 

Connected in a global communion 

Special guests to the CONGRENAJE included 20 young people from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) member churches. They came from the Africa, Nordic, Central Western Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean regions. 

LWF Youth Secretary Savanna Sullivan welcomed this initiative. “Every church has something meaningful to offer, and international partners also have something to offer,” she said. “Inviting youth from other parts of the world and offering hospitality to them shows an important aspect of being church together as young people in Brazil and beyond. I hope that young people in other churches take up the idea of being connected to the communion when planning their gatherings.” 

During the four-day congress, the participants enjoyed a varied program that included lectures, meditations, Bible studies, worship services, workshops, and moments of communion and fellowship among young people from different regions of Brazil and other countries. Also, Youth Council elections took place. 

One of the highlights of the gathering was the “Youth Shout,” a public act in which young people shared their message with society, delivering words of hope, dignity, and social values in the central square of Domingos Martins. This is the place where celebrations marking two centuries of Lutheran presence in Brazil were also launched, initiating festivities throughout the country in the year to come.

LWF/E. Albrecht, A. Weyermüller