CWM’s first Asia Youth Initiative (AYI) gathered 55 participants from East Asia and South Asia member churches from Aug 7 -12, 2018, in Seoul, South Korea. It was a time of mutual learning and encouragement as they engaged with missional issues in their regional contexts which included civic engagement & multimedia, safe spaces for youth, human sexuality, poverty, and understanding ecumenical movement.
Key highlights included a solidarity visit to participate in the weekly Wednesday Demonstration for the resolution of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery (‘Comfort Women’) issue, the longest-running demonstration in the world. Participants also had the opportunity to visit Korea’s Demilitarization Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, Seongak Prayer Sanctuary and Dorasan Station. They recognized a significant role that the Church could play at the local, national and international level in promoting justice, peace and harmony.
The keynote address by Professor Rev Dr UnHey Kim, a Professor of Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary in South Korea, explored the trend of Korean youth leaving the institutional church while keeping their faith. Prof Kim encouraged pursuit of a new, transformative spirituality, for youths to be God’s vessels in bringing about healing and restoration in the world.
The AYI programme affirmed and stand in solidarity with the ethnic minorities as they commemorate the UN 2018 International Day of World’s Indigenous People on Aug 9th. In response to the theme of UN 2018 Youth International Day, i.e. Safe Spaces for Youth, the participants aspire to be inclusive and seek to promote open-mindedness, recreating a safe space in churches through life-enhancing worships and be empathetic so that hope of new spirituality is restored.