At home worldwide: Let’s not forget the children and young people

The Covid crisis is still not over, there are wars, natural disasters, and catastrophic hunger. With all the negative news, it is easy to forget a very important group within the Church: children and young people, who are our future.

For children and young people

The visit of Lead Apostle Geoffrey Nwogu was a highlight for the children in the district of Lagos-East (Nigeria) during his first visit to the Apostle Area West. He conducted the special service on 5 February in the Apostle Gfeller Hall. He based the service on John 10: 14–15: “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” Afterwards the children were taken to a nearby park to burn off some of their pent-up energy with games and activities. In between the Sunday School teachers gave them snacks and drinks, bringing big smiles to their faces.

The young people of the congregations Algrange and Tucquegnieux (France) were overjoyed when their rector conducted a divine service just for them. The service took place on 30 January and was based on John 2: 11: “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” The district youth leader was also there. Afterwards they all had lunch together and then they drove to Amnéville, where they met with the other young people of the district for an afternoon of activities.

All about the children and young people

They had always somehow wished that they could just once put up the numbers on the hymn board or prepare the altar and open up the Bible before a divine service. Well, these two wishes came true for the children from Logroño and Bilbao in Spain on 11 and 12 December.

Both services were based on the same Bible passage, namely 1 Samuel 3: 10, and put the focus on the children: “Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel answered, ‘Speak, for Your servant hears.’” Already before the service they were allowed to decorate the altar and welcomed the arriving children. During the service some of the children acted out the story of Samuel and provided the music. Afterwards everyone helped to clean up. The children had all been given a name tag to show them they are important. They were to feel that this was a divine service especially for them, and they felt loved and welcomed.

The Sunday School children in the Madina congregation (Ghana) took over on 6 February. This had already been planned before the country went into lockdown at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. So the children used the time to practise. When the time finally came and the service could take place, they amazed the congregation. While Johnny assisted the Deacons in welcoming and ushering members to their seats, Jessica checked the people’s temperature at the door. The children also showcased their musical talents. Nana Kofi played the piano while his brother, Dickson, sang a solo. And the Sunday School choir replaced the adult choir. After the service there was a role play. There was great joy all around—and the adults were not bored either.

The young people of the congregation Kirchheim-Teck (Germany) did something similar on 30 January. The motto of the service was “The Lord is my shepherd”. Fittingly, it was a Shepherd who conducted the service. Everything else was done by the youth. For a Bible reading of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd”, they took turns reading the text. The youth had recorded some of the musical contributions before the service, while instrumental pieces were played live. Afterwards they distributed refrigerator magnets with an inspirational passage from Psalm 23.

Together with the youth

Finally, they were allowed to spend an evening together again! The youth of the districts Berne-South and Thun (Switzerland) were really looking forward to the evening with their District Apostle Jürg Zbinden. The subject of the youth meeting, which took place in January, was pastoral care. The young people divided into groups and talked about questions such as “Who can provide pastoral care?” or “How often would you like a pastoral care visit?” The District Apostle went from group to group and listened to the young people’s ideas regarding these questions and gave some impulses. One of them was: “Pastoral care is the task of the whole congregation.” After their group discussion, the young people came together again and District Apostle Zbinden shared some experiences of faith with them to show them how great the works and ways of God are.