EYD reloaded: organizers begin with the planning of the IYC

The European Youth Day in 2009 was full of magical moments. Ten years later there will be a new edition, but in form of an International Youth Convention (IYC). The preparations have begun. And they are going to be quite something.

The sea of lights at the “Night of the Lights” or thousands of people getting up to join an approaching wave or tens of thousands singing “The Lord is my light” … These were the scenes that the planning committee had in their mind’s eye as they entered the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf (Germany), the place where the 2009 European Youth Day took place.

Twenty-five delegates from the European District Churches were there to inspect the empty arena and adjoining halls. They are the planning committee for the International Youth Convention (IYC), which will take place on Ascension 2019. They have almost three years to organize the big event. More than 30,000 young people and chaperones are expected.

Organizers with experience

“Seeing the stadium that we are going to have to fill with substance and atmosphere makes me very humble considering the gigantic task ahead of us,” says Apostle Franz-Wilhelm Otten. He is the project manager and managing director of the legal entity that is organizing the youth convention. Most members of the planning committee were already on board for the 2009 event—the majority as participants, but some already as organizers.

A newcomer to the committee is Apostle Jeannot Leibfried from France, whose young protégés made the flames of passion burn bright at the 2009 EYD and created many emotional moments. Representing non-European regions such as South-East Asia is Bishop Samuel Tansahtikno from Indonesia.

Costs of nine million Euros

Posing the biggest challenge for the planning committee is the fact that most visitors will likely sleep in the exhibition halls located on the premises. And food will have to be provided for everyone for three days. There will also be an extensive programme with exhibitions and lectures, as well as mass events in the arena itself—one of which will be the divine service on the Sunday, on Ascension. The costs of the entire convention in 2019 have been estimated at around nine million euros.

The next meeting of the planning committee is in October 2016. Starting in 2017, planners will begin with the actual conception of the events and the music for the convention. Registration will begin in 2018. Anyone wishing to help will be able to register then too. Without help from volunteers such an event lasting several days cannot be realized.

New impulses for the Church

Until October or so of this year, the newly created project groups will pool ideas. There are separate planning teams who will be busy in the areas of music, exhibitors, lectures, events, arena, exhibition, communication, and accommodation.

Apostle Franz-Wilhelm Otten was very confident at the end of the two-day meeting: “If our energy keeps up and God grants us His blessing, then this will turn into a fantastic weekend for our youth, one that will help the Church move into the future and bring new impulses.”

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