Involving young people
The Communion of Protestant Churches in Europe involves young people in its work. Besides special collaborative events, in summer 2020 the Council of the CPCE launched a programme called Young Theologians in Communion, appointing a number of young theologians aged between 21 and 35 years from 15 churches to a reference group.
This new line of approach supports the CPCE’s aim of involving young people in the collaborative thematic work conducted by the Church Communion.
Originally, the plan was to conduct collaborative work in the form of an annual study conference and encouraging the group to engage with the documents and texts generated by the CPCE’s work processes. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to first reschedule the inaugural study conference from Cambridge to Sibiu, and ultimately to cancel the event. Nonetheless, we succeeded in running two initial video conferences during October 2020, each attended by more than 20 participants.
The young theologians are kicking off their collaborative work by familiarising themselves with the CPCE and learning about its history, the cornerstone texts and a number of its member churches. During group video conferences, they are presenting their own churches to the others, thus revealing the major differences within European Protestantism. The next stage will commence in mid-2021, introducing the group to the work that the CPCE is currently conducting (doctrinal conversations, topics, activities) and giving the members a chance to comment critically in their role as a reference group. This will make it possible to inject the voice of young people at an early stage into the draft resolutions that will be presented to the CPCE’s committees.
These young people are all volunteers in this endeavour, which will enable them to experience the diversity of European Protestantism and simultaneously establish an important link between the CPCE and their particular churches. At the meetings in November 2020, the group discussed the reception of Leuenberg texts and other documents produced by the CPCE.
In addition to this programme, the CPCE is collaborating on theological training with the Centro Melantone in Rome and the Centre for Eastern Protestant Theology (ZETO) in Sibiu, with the aim of encouraging Protestant theological studies in predominantly Catholic and Orthodox environments.