This week, the Commission on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches met here in Geneva. The World Council (just like the Lutheran World Federation) made a serious effort to have a higher youth participation. Thomas, a young Lutheran from Brazil, spoke about his first few days in the commission.
You can watch the video via youtube. However, if you don’t have a fast connection you might consider reading the transscript below.
Here is the transcript:
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself. You are coming from Brazil?
A. Yes, I am coming from Brazil. I was at the assembly of the World Council of Churches 2006. I was a steward there.
Q. But you are a member of the Lutheran church in Brazil?
A. Yes, I am a member of the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil.
Q. And now you are attending a commission of the World Council of Churches as a youth delegate.
A. The CCIA, which is the Churches’ Commission on International Affairs, deals with issues like violence, globalization, poverty, wars. And since the assembly, there was a strong committment at the WCC to put youth and participation more emphasis. So we have a youth quota and I was indicated by someone and now I am here.
Q. And what are you doing in the commission, right now?
A. We are dealing (at the first meeting) with some buerocratic issues like how are we going to decide things. Of course, we are trying to build our working groups. There are four groups. There is a group on Human Rights, social questions, there is a group on inter-religious dialogue. There is another one but I don’t remember right now. We are trying to distribute the people into the groups so that we can do a better job in the next six years.
Q. In what working group are you in?
A. I am in the social group. It’s about the economy, globalization. That is my field.
Q. How have you been working in this area before?
A. I am doing my masters in economics. My background is in Economic History but that is really development. I really do like issues like poverty. Well, I don’t like poverty but I like studying it.
Q. Have you already worked in the working group on a particular issue?
A. No, we are just distributing the people, electing the moderators of the groups and solving problems how are we going to work. The next meeting of the CCIA will be in a year and a half. We are still in the beginning but today I think we will solve most of the problems. It is the last day, anyway.
Q. Sometimes it is quite hard for a young delegate to get into the work of such a commission: With all the older people who are very seasoned and have a lot of experience.
A. I was very warmly welcomed there. I think they liked that we had youth there. Of course, but I am just learning. It is the first meeting and a lot of other people are learning, too. And of course I did not ask for the floor many times. But I learned a lot and in the next meeting I can contribute more.
Q. What would you say is important for young Lutherans to know about the commission?
A. I think many people don’t know much about the WCC. The CCIA has an important role. We are talking about problems that are very, very difficult. Churches have to know something about it. Youth has to have an important role in these issues. If we want to follow what Jesus said and to put an emphasis on Christian ethics. Youth can have an important role in making that clear.