Reformation Day Online: Virtual Choir, Critical Theological Debates

Photo: LWF/M. Renaux
Photo: LWF/M. Renaux

Hundreds to Explore Christian Faith and Lutheran Identity in First Virtual Conference of Global Young Reformers

(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) “Global Young Reformers Network” is preparing for its inaugural virtual conference on Reformation Day in 2014, with participants and organizers anticipating a joyous experience that will also provide opportunity to discuss critical theological issues for young Lutheran Christians today.

“For me, the stress on young people's ability to achieve change and make the world a better place is very important. All over the world, youth need to be empowered and encouraged to use their potential and to find hope,” says Karin Rubenson, a member of the Young Reformers’ steering committee. The online network currently has nearly 200 young members from all regions of the Lutheran communion.

Its first virtual conference on 31 October will explore questions of Christian faith and Lutheran identity under the theme, “Freed by God’s Love to Change the World.” One of the highlights of the online forum is a virtual choir that has already registered singers from 20 countries.

From Sweden, Rubenson looks forward to building relations with other young Reformers at the conference and learning from the different speakers. “As young Reformers, we can facilitate international and ecumenical work. We are a generation [that has] grown up in a global community and can reflect this in our churches,” she adds.

Darius Lee, steering committee member for Asia, says the theme relates to issues that he cares about at home in Singapore. “We live in increasingly complicated times with great challenges [and] we struggle with excessive materialism, which leads many people to focus on themselves rather than the needs of others.”

He expects the conference to bring participants together as “the one Body of Christ” and provide “meaningful and constructive dialogue to build one another up, wherever we are, whoever we are.”

Its theme affirms that “we are freed from our own sinful desires, and are empowered to change our families, community and society through God's Holy Spirit. No longer are we bound by the love of money, but are freed to show love to the poor and needy in our midst,” Lee notes.

“Drawing from the heroic example of the early Reformers, the young Reformers can be a living testimony to the world and to the community through their uncompromising witness to the gospel,” he adds. 

LWF Youth Secretary Ms Caroline Richter anticipates a “joyful Lutheran and online Reformation Day, and a unique meeting space for young Lutherans from all over the world.” But, she adds, “We also expect concrete results: what are the burning issues of the young Lutherans today? Which questions do we need to tackle in the next years?” The conference will give space to discuss these and vote on priorities for the network.  

Speakers include LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge, Vice-President for Asia Ms Eun-hae Kwon, and members of the LWF delegation to the UN climate change conferences, among others.

Started by the LWF Youth Desk, the Global Young Reformers Network aims to empower young people (18-30 years) from all LWF member churches to contribute to the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the LWF Twelfth Assembly in 2017.

Virtual Conference GYRN Website