Heartbeat Youth Congress + Kirchentag
Dresden. old. new. eastern. shadows of WW2. hope. youth.
From 31st May til 5th June about 60 young people from Central and Eastern Europe shared each others presence in Dresden, Germany.
What was going on?
“Heartbeat” Youth Congress preceeding a big socially-, politically- and spiritually-shaped German Protestant Kirchentag 2011. The topic was a challenging question: “What does my heart beat for?” and directly linked to the main theme of Kirchentag – “…there your heart will be also”, taken from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:21).
So, how did we explore what the heart beats for?
Day 1 – YMCA Youth Boat + ice-breaking + Dresden Neustadt at night
Amazing youth hostel run by YMCA (Young Men´s Christian Association) on the river Elbe under the sunset… it simply could not start better! Exciting arrivals of all participants – who are they? How is the group going to be created? … All those questions just disappeared during the dinner and get-to-know-each-other evening. Apart from that Kirchentag programme director, Silke Lechner, and general secretary, Ellen Ueberschär welcomed us all and talked about the idea behind the congress-ecumenism, Central and Eastern Europe, youth – altogether.
After that – alive and pulsing Dresden Neustadt was waiting!
Intense and diverse exploring starts with bible study on “Travelling and Migration” – discovered that many of us don’t live in our fatherlands and this has many different implications on our identity – christian, secular, personal features… whom we meet… where we are… who we are… but not social constructs!
Morning – To be continued… by History and my Identity session with the question How did historical/political events shape my (Christian) identity?. Answers offered Mr. Reinhard Höppner, german politician (SPD) with a story how he became a politician, because there simply wasn´t any other choice for him in the 1980-ies… is there a choice for us now? why don´t young people participapte in the public lifeand debates …. ? This question was set a couple of times during the congress and hopefully set a growing idea into the heads and hearts.
Next part of the programme was a World cafe activity with questioning historical influences on our own identities… what shaped me until now?
And after coffee – in the 30 degrees heat – we got totally caught by personal story telling of the Egyptian revolution from January by Noha Adel Fahmy, Nihad Nabil Fares and Bahaa Gamil Ghobrial – 3 young Egyptians coming as guest speakers both to us and whole Kirchentag. How do we as Christians participate in the society? Bahaa told us about the churches´ reluctant approach to the revolution, however this did not prevent them from participating… so sometimes to oppose means to oppose even a part of yourself…
The revolution itself was young and intelligent peoples´revolution – as they said and showed us that “Yes, we really can!”, which was very encouraging, as we saw that it was really possible. And even if only some 30 % of Egyptians have internet access, the news were mainly spreading via mobile phones, facebook and twitter and brought eventually more and more people to Tahrir Square on 25th January and on. Interestingly, the post-period was a miracle – people helping each other, educating, cleaning, … However, the future is still unclear, so let´s pray for the whole nation of Egypt!
But that was still not the end of the day – cultural evening of sharing the food, dances and presentations of the uniques of Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova. Very enjoyable!!!!!