20 youth at the fourth international training workshop in Rwanda
(LWI) – Many young people in The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) member churches actively engage in movements for peace and justice in their contexts. Twenty youth from 16 churches across the seven LWF regions shared their experiences and reflected together on skills that strengthen their capacities as local and global Peace Messengers.
Co-Hosted by the Lutheran Church of Rwanda (LCR) the fourth international Peace Messengers training focused on how specific gifts and contexts prepare young people to be agents of peace. “Advent is particularly important to remember our call from God to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9),” said Ms Savanna Sullivan, LWF Program Executive for Youth, who led the 7-12 December training.
The training was an opportunity to practice peace building skills such as active listening, finding common ground, analyzing conflict to identify issues of power and human rights, and seeking creative solutions together. Theological reflection and youth leadership are core parts of the training, which is structured around the LWF Peace Messengers Training Manual.
“Peace is a seed for believers and they are called to spread it everywhere. It includes balancing both harmony and justice,” said Clémence Madara, Church of the Lutheran Brethren of Cameroon. “Training young leaders in peace- building and social justice on the one hand and in leadership and entrepreneurship on the other prepares them for actions that have considerable impact in society,” she added.
The program also focuses on the intersection between peace and LWF youth priorities that include working for climate justice and revival in churches that are in ongoing reformation. “I learned about the importance of discovering what unites us as people, while continuing to celebrate diversity,” said Ian Heseltine, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Through the time shared in Kigali, he had realized that youth “have a particular lens through which we see the world and willingness to engage with each other that can lead to revitalization within our member churches.”
He added: “I hope to share the knowledge from our foundational training, contextual storytelling, and personal experiences of Rwanda with the broader church, and strive to make an impact in smaller communities across the United States.”