Young Christians Share Church’s Witness of Peace
A team of young Christians from the across WSCF were appointed by the World Council of Churches (WCC) to make a series of videos sharing the global churches’ message of peace at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in Jamaica this past May.
The youth video team, chosen from the 100 national member movements of WSCF, consisted of Verónica Biech (Argentina), Mike Garcia (Philippines), Desireé Kamek (USA) and Derri-Ann Palmer (Jamaica). Christopher Chimangeni (Malawi) was unable to attend due to visa complications. The IEPC celebrated the WCC’s decade to overcome violence through lectures, workshops, seminars, worship, and ecumenical dialogue.
Before the conference began Mike Garcia was looking forward to covering the conference:
Covering the event and interacting with different leaders of the ecumenical community around the globe is a huge task. I am praying that I can give my best to perform the task and be able to convey the core of the IEPC to the world so that we can achieve the peace that we are aspiring for.
Desireé Kameka, a representative from the USA, expressed the value of having young people to communicate one of the most important church events of the decade:
Young people inherently understand that communication with anyone in the world can occur instantly, information can be sent to an enormous network with a single click, interactive multimedia is the norm and one can transform the perspective of millions of people without ever walking out of their front door. The world is a network waiting for interaction. It is our ability to communicate through actions and words that bear witness to the incredible possibilities of the life-giving, beloved community which God desires of us and thus inspires others to ‘go and do likewise’.
Using a one-on-one video style, the video team captured the event through personal stories and conversations posting them online at www.iepcstories.com.
A glimpse into some of the stories
The team visited the Mustard Seed Community, located in the marginalized and violence-prone neighbourhood of Kingston. See how the presence of the organisation has positively impacted the quality of life for members of the community at http://iepcstories.com/2011/05/20/visits-to-local-projects-mustard-seed-community/.
They also covered many workshops that took place over the course of the conference. One in particular entitled “Free the Cuban 5”, found here http://iepcstories.com/2011/05/21/iepc-workshop-free-the-cuban-5/, captures two wives giving testimony about their experience of their husband’s imprisonment for the last thirteen years by the US government.
There was also a lot of time for meeting and discussing with the many people who attended. One interview with Rev. Kjell Jonasson, from Sweden, who is working for the Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre, a joint project of the Jerusalem churches, the WCC and the Middle East Council of Churches is found here: http://iepcstories.com/2011/05/22/peace-in-the-holy-land/. He outlines how the Centre is a coordination point for ecumenical action in and for Jerusalem, Palestine and its churches. He suggests the Kairos Document is the most influential product for faith-based initiatives on peace in the Holy Land.
In the interview “A Radical Call to Just Peace”, Christian peace activist Dr. Paul Oestreicher, an Anglican priest and member of the Religious Society of Friends, speaks about his plenary address to the convocation with the powerful message: “A Different World is Possible!” In a video interview with the Communications Team Dr. Oestreicher explains the heart of his vision for Just Peace: http://iepcstories.com/2011/05/25/a-radical-call-to-just-peace/.
Another interview with a local youth Andre, http://iepcstories.com/2011/05/22/a-story-from-an-iepc-workshop-overcoming-armed-violence/, shares how his participation in HOLY, a program set up in Kingston that uses a holistic approach to social intervention, changed his outlook on life. HOLY engages with youth and young adults from violent inner city communities in activities which seek to re-socialize and equip them with the skills necessary to live in society without dependence on criminality for income and purpose.
Check out www.iepcstories.com to find more videos and reflections put together by the IEPC Youth Video Team. Hopefully you find them engaging and enlightening, perhaps even inspiring as you to continue the work of overcoming violence.
Printable version available: IEPC Report
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