YPC18218: more than a Day of the Youth

The New Apostolic Southern Africa is expecting more than 40,000 participants at its Day of the Youth this weekend. The event falls in the middle of a crisis.

Day of the Youth is actually the wrong term. Because the official abbreviation YPC18218 stands for Young Peoples’ Convention 18 February 2018. It is therefore no longer simply a “youth day” but one for young people. The event begins with two novelties. Starting immediately, such activities are open for all young people between the ages of 14 to 35, regardless of their marital status. This includes adolescents as well as young parents, young married couples and young divorcees, as well as young widows and widowers.

Novelty number two is that it is the first major event since the merger of the two District Churches Southeast Africa and Cape that created the entity NAC Southern Africa. The young peoples’ convention is to be a signal for this new togetherness.

A two-day programme in a football stadium

The event will take place at the Cape Town Stadium, which was built for the FIFA World Cup in 2010. The New Apostolic Church has booked the stadium for two days. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider will celebrate a divine service there on Sunday, 18 February, to which all ministers are also invited.

On the day before, there will be a five-hour variety concert. For months, auditions have been taking place in every Apostle area—groups and soloists. The best three representatives were identified in every Apostle area and will be able to perform live on stage at the YPC. A panel of professional judges will select five finalists, who—in the presence of the Chief Apostle—will perform once again. The concert will be recorded for NACTV to be shown at a later date. One of the competitors is Paxton Fielies, the young New Apostolic woman who was recently named South African idol in the casting show’s thirteenth season.

The event, however, kicks off on Friday already—both for the participants and the organisers. Some 10,000 young people from other parts of the country are expected to descend on Greater Cape Town on Friday. They are being accommodated by members. Every Apostle Area has come up with between 1,200 to 1,600 beds. On Friday evening there will be local welcome evenings.

Cape Town’s water crisis

The huge number of visitors presents the hosting city with a challenge. Cape Town is currently experiencing the greatest water crisis in its history. South Africa’s worst drought in one hundred years has brought the reservoirs down to a dangerously low level. Day Zero, the day taps are expected to run dry, is threatening.

Water restrictions are in effect and are currently at 50 litres per person and day for drinking water, showers, cooking, laundry, dish washing, and so on. By comparison, even the most water-wise countries in Europe use 120 litres per person per day, and Canada and the USA use an average of 300 litres.

The water shortage has a crippling effect on everyday life. Doing laundry? Once a week! Taking a shower? No more than two minutes. And the water used to do dishes or from the washing machine is collected and reused to flush the toilet.

Every two weeks, staff from the Water Services control how much water is being used per household, Church spokesman Kenny Kotze says. Anyone who ignores the limit repeatedly—level 6B is in effect as of 1 February, which means fifty litres per household—faces hefty fines and the installation of water-management metres, if they do not comply.

The Church is aware of its responsibility

The water crisis has also impacted the congregations. Watering the church grounds is taboo. The administrative offices have contacted the rectors with tips on how to save water, for example, when cleaning the church. Tips have been posted for the members on how to use less water as well, for example in the washrooms.

Providing for additional guests in such a situation means a considerable impact on the rest of the community. But cancelling the long-planned YPC was out of the question. In order to lessen the effects on the community at large, District Apostle John L. Kriel not only initiated a water-saving programme in the Church, but is also cooperating with a civic organisation, Water Shortage South Africa, and the Cape Town Disaster Management.

The District Apostle asked all congregations across South Africa to collect sealed five-litre bottles of water and have them ready for pick up. The water will be collected and distributed to old age homes and institutions for the disabled if the need arises. This is how the Church would like to “lessen the impact of the crisis and exercise its social responsibility toward the community at large”, it says in the District Apostle’s circular to the rectors.

The previous version of this text talked of a live broadcast of the concert on Saturday. In fact, the event will be recorded and broadcasted via NAC TV later. We apologize for this error.

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