Young Lutherans get Living Reformation projects off the ground

Young Lutherans: excited about the prospect of launching Living Reformation projects. Photo: LWF/Johanan Celine P. Valeriano
Young Lutherans: excited about the prospect of launching Living Reformation projects. Photo: LWF/Johanan Celine P. Valeriano

Living Reformation projects take shape in over 50 countries

(LWI) – Young people from around the globe are set to launch a series of Living Reformation projects, initiatives they hope will bring change to the lives of people in their communities and further afield.

Reformation Day, October 31, marks the start of dozens of initiatives conceived by members of the Global Young Reformers Network following their international workshop in Wittenberg, Germany, in August.

Young reformers across the Lutheran communion are working with fellow youth and church leaders in other regions to find new ways to be a church, under the banner Ecclesia Semper Reformanda - a church in an ongoing state of reformation or change. Convinced that the church must keep reforming, even 500 years after the movement that Martin Luther started, young Lutherans are learning about Lutheran identity, working to counter unemployment, training as leaders and working for environmental justice.

The Living Reformation projects will help churches interpret the theme of both the 500th commemoration of the Reformation in 2017 and the LWF Twelfth Anniversary, Liberated by God’s Grace. Young reformers will lead the way in illustrating how the sub-themes: Salvation - not for sale, Creation - not for sale, and Human beings - not for sale, relate to critical issues in their countries and resonate with concerns in other LWF regions.

Arek Arkadiusz, of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland, is planning a project titled, Who are we? What's our vocation? His group is focusing on Luther’s notion of God’s grace. “Firstly, Martin Luther was moved by the Word of God written in the Scripture. We want to give youth a chance to encounter Luther’s discovery and give them the space to carry God’s love to one another.”

Polish young people have linked up with other young reformers in Colombia, Madagascar and Namibia, whose projects also focus on Lutheran identity.

Young members of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria will launch a training program to help reduce the number of unemployed youth in Nigeria. The goal is to ensure at least 50 young people secure employment by the end of next year.

“Unemployment has caused youth to be used by desperate politicians in achieving their goals. These idle young people are given money to engage in drug abuse, shout and roam the streets campaigning for politicians; sometimes engaging in conflicts and other vices,” project leader Nickson Ibrahim Makama said.

“Our training will help youth understand their value in society, provide them with the skills needed to grab employment opportunities and be better members of society. It will help people see how every human being is not an object to be used and misused by others." He will work with young reformers from Guatemala and Zimbabwe.

Kelly Cruz' Living Reformation project focuses on training young people for leadership roles in the Lutheran Church of Peru. “Our church needs a new leadership team, one which includes our younger members. At the end of 2016, the church will have 26 teenagers and youth who are highly trained, knowledgeable, aware of our Lutheran identity and of the gifts, abilities and skills needed to serve the church,” she said. Cruz will work with young reformers in Liberia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, El Salvador and Papua New Guinea.

Climate change is the driving force behing a project supporting the holistic focus of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church in India. “In India, forests are decreasing day by day. Pollution is very high, temperature levels are increasing, and there are no rains in some places. Without rains farmers can’t farm their fields, and many are committing suicide because of drought,” says project leader John Peter Paul Ponugumati. His team will work with others from Suriname, the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan and Nicaragua.

“I think churches are focusing only on spirituality but not on the social implications. So it’s time to reform our spirituality with social concerns,” Ponugumati added.

In his Reformation Day letter inviting churches to reflect on the meaning of the 2017 anniversary theme, LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge referred to the efforts of young reformers. The results and lessons of the Living Reformation projects will be shared in 2017 in the home countries of the young reformers and at global level.


Read about Living Reformation projects  

Video box: Living Reformation projects


Link to GYRN page