Bogotá, Colombia – In June 2016, the dream of worshipping together as the global family became a reality, when local young people from three denominations celebrated the inaugural YABs Fellowship Week with a joint worship service in Bogotá.
“It was another space to feel the connection between us, as young Anabaptists in the world, that we are not alone, and even more that we are not small,” said Lilia Paola Arangueren Caballero, a planning committee member for the YABs (young Anabaptists) activity in Bogotá.
YABs Fellowship Week is an annual event in which the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) YABs committee creates worship resources for young Anabaptists from around the world to celebrate around a common theme during the same week in June. Young leaders in Bogotá responded by forming a working group of representatives from each Anabaptist denomination, Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia, Iglesia Hermandad en Cristo, Iglesias Hermanos Menonitas de Colombia, to plan an event.
Participants posted their prayer requests
as they prayed for local and international
needs at the YABs Fellowship Week
joint service in Bogotá, Colombia.
This was the first time that a joint worship service including all three denominations was planned by and for young people. Though two members of the planning committee had attended the Global Youth Summit (GYS) in 2015, the majority of the local youth had never participated in a previous MWC Assembly.
The GYS theme, ‘Called to share: my gifts, our gifts,’ gave inspiration to this event. “After the experience we had at GYS, a time of building relationships, growing, learning and sharing our gifts in community; we thought this was an excellent opportunity and excuse to bring this to Bogotá, to be able to connect with each other and work together for unity between [our three denominations],” said Jardely Martínez, a member of the planning committee.
To connect with other YABs around the world, the organizers asked young people from other countries to send video greetings. A compilation video was shown in the worship service.
For many, the main highlight of the service was the time of prayer for the requests from the YABs Fellowship Week worship resources. For Esteban Sánchez, it was very important to “remember the problems that exist in other parts of the world, affecting our brothers and sisters, and together we can support them in prayer.”
“Truly this worship service helped us to feel that we are part of a big Anabaptist family around the world,” wrote Alexander Gutierrez, a planning committee member.
Youth and young adult groups also organized activities around the YABs Fellowship Week theme in India, Paraguay, Zimbabwe and Indonesia. In Botswana, in addition to discussing the resource material, youth picked up litter, weeded and cleaned outside of their church building. In
Chihuahua, Mexico, young Anabaptists from MWC member Conferencia Menonita de Mexico, also came together for a joint worship service where they sang and discussed questions from the resources in small groups. They prayed for local requests and for each continent, and finished by sharing a meal together.
-Mennonite World Conference release by Kristina Toews
Photos: Jardely Martínez
*If your youth or young adult group celebrated YABs Fellowship Week, we invite you to share your stories and photos with MWC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A group shot of all participants at the
YABs Fellowship Week joint service
in Bogotá, Colombia.