Youth hopes for greater engagement with churches

Feature Article No: 18/02
23 November 2018

The young members of the electoral reserve of CEC Governing Board are deeply motivated to influence the life and work of the regional ecumenical organisation.

Each member of the Governing Board has a proxy drawn from the electoral reserve, who comes from the same church family and region as that member. Among this electoral reserve are Tuomo Mäkelä from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Maria Mountraki from the Orthodox Church of Finland, Katarzyna Charkiewicz from the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church and Deacon Iakovos Andriopoulos from the Church of Greece.

The 20-member Governing Board of CEC meets twice annually to oversee the implementation of the decisions of the Assembly. The new board meets from 22 to 24 November in Brussels, for its first official gathering following the 2018 Novi Sad General Assembly.

25-year-old Tuomo Mäkelä considers being associated with CEC an “amazing and positive experience.” “I have learnt many new things related to the work of CEC and European churches. The cooperation with everyone has been lovely,” he said.

“CEC values the opinions of youth, which is one way to encourage their contributions.”

Mäkelä went on to say that for making CEC’s work relevant to its members and partners it is important to have a stronger youth participation in all activities.

Maria Mountraki is hopeful about the engagement of young people in European churches.

26-year-old Mountraki has been actively involved with the ecumenical movement and was among the organisers for youth programmes held at the 2018 Novi Sad Assembly of CEC in Serbia.

“I am sure in future there will be more engagement for young people. And I am excited to see how much difference we can make together.”

Mountraki went on to say that churches must use their resources for good youth initiatives and offer opportunities to hear young people’s voices in their midst.

23-year-old Katarzyna Charkiewicz from the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church is another member of the electoral reserve.

She strongly stresses the importance of the role of young people in churches. “The Church needs young people, and young people need the Church,” she said.

“Young people are witnesses of the power of faith, they pass it to their children, friends – younger generations who nowadays look for inspiration in their lives. The Church gives youth the spirit that is very important in the era of today’s pursuit of duties, problems and worries.”

“In our church, young people cultivate the tradition of their ancestors as well as martyrs who sacrificed their lives for faith,” added Charkiewicz.

“The church without young people is like a tree without leaves and flowers. It means that it has roots such as history and elderly people full of faith, but without flowers it will not bear fruit, and without fruit the tradition will not be passed on,” she added.

The CEC Governing Board also includes three young members namely Andreas Henriksen Aarflot from the Church of Norway, Lea Schlenker from the Evangelical Church in Germany and Emma Johnson from the Methodist Church in Britain.

For more information or an interview, please contact:

Dr Erin Green
Communication Coordinator
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 2 234 68 42
Fax +32 2 231 14 13
Twitter: @ceceurope

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