More than 110 young Lutherans expected for LWF Youth Pre-Assembly in Ondangwa
(LWI) – Young pastors and youth leaders from the three member churches of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Namibia have launched preparations for the LWF Youth pre-Assembly to be held in Ondangwa, northern Namibia, from 3-9 May.
The young members of the local planning team are part of the first generation born and raised after Namibia’s independence in 1990, the so called “born-free.”
The Pre-Assembly will gather 110 participants from more than 70 countries.
“We want to bring to the Youth Pre-Assembly a spirit of ubuntu (compassion and kindness),” says Rev. Helvi Muremi, a parish pastor in a rural congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN). She brings global experience to the team, having served also on the steering committee of the LWF Global Young Reformers' Network, which supports youth participation in commemorating the 500th Reformation anniversary and the forthcoming assembly.
ELCIN Presiding Bishop Dr Shekutaamba V. V. Nambala says the youth delegates have been invited to visit congregations and Lutheran families in Ondangwa in order to experience church life in Namibia.
We have developed an inspiring program that we want to share with you. We are waiting for you with excitement. Come, so that we can be liberated in the Grace of God.
Mr Wynand Lukas, chairperson of the planning team and a student of social work, shares his excitement about planning for the global gathering, the first in LWF’s history to be hosted by the ELCIN, Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia, and the German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia. “We have developed an inspiring program that we want to share with you. We are waiting for you with excitement. Come, so that we can be liberated in the Grace of God.”
Confronting social problems in Namibia
The "born-free" Namibians long to improve the social-economic situation in their country and create fairer education and employment opportunities for young people. Thus, the international youth delegates at the pre-assembly will not only learn about the history of Namibia and its Lutheran churches, but also get first-hand experience of the country’s post-independence generation.
Lukas says: “We need to talk about the challenges our young people have due to alcohol and drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, and youth unemployment, and we hope to learn from the exchange about realities in other countries.”
While preparing the agenda for the international delegates, the planning team raises important issues confronting society such as how to prevent child trafficking, churches’ response to gender-based violence, and how the church positions itself in the public space. The reality of climate change is a key issue for Namibia, which has experienced recurring water shortages due to poor rains and the resulting drought over the past few years. The region around Ondangwa has significantly suffered from a persistent heat wave since 2013.
LWF Youth Secretary Caroline Bader hopes the gathering will encourage cross-cultural exchange: “We invite all delegates to come with an open mind and heart: active and energetic, willing to share insights from the youth work in their context and open to learn from the challenges of different churches in the Lutheran communion. This is how we will witness a truly global communion of churches,” she adds.