That was the motto of the new Youth Forum-2015 “You are the light of the world!” that took place near Saint Petersburg: the event lit up the new stars and constellations of young, gifted ministers of United Methodist churches in Eurasia.
The very first night the participants received an impulse of cheerfulness and energy through the encouraging worship service and Holy Communion, as well as the night café with the special treat – a dance flash mob, prepared by the organizers.
The basic topic of the forum this time was the theme “The gifts of the Holy Spirit”. It was presented by Bishop Eduard Khegay during the practical lessons, however practically every forum’s event was related to the theme of spiritual gifts: both passionate worship, and small groups discussions, and the night café, organized and led by Alina Starkova (Aspiration UMC), and role-plays, and, of course, workshops and worship services.
The forum of 2015 was full of surprises. One could be sure about it. “Behold, I create all things new” – that’s what marked the event. Brand new hymns and songs, played by the worship band, a new onstage way of presenting morning devotions, the traditional Big game, this time being played on the streets of Saint Petersburg – all these habitual events were revealed in an interesting and unexpected way.
Each day we were given a unique opportunity to go deep into the atmosphere of a new worship style: contemporary, traditional one, the early church worship service, the Taize ecumenical ministry.
Thus, the participants again got the idea of how open Methodist church is to different ways of praising God, and got the chance to enjoy their favorite worship style.
One more new thing that the forum had was a social issues debate – that’s exactly what forums are about.
The speakers of the debate, Vladimir Ditmar (Kirov UMC) and Dmitry Lysin (Kainda UMC), raised the questions, which were really urgent for the society and the church, that is, the issues of suicide, migration and racism, homosexuality, addictions. I hope that this good beginning will maintain and be developed during the future events.
The forum “You are the light of the world!” turned out to be an anniversary for the pastors Andrei Kim and Irina Margulis. They organized ten out of total eleven of Student forums.
I’d like to thank them, as well as their whole organizing team and the worship band: Tatiana Li, Alina Starkova, Elina Ten, Yakov Markov, Lyubov Petrova. Friends, be blessed and keep on moving within your spiritual gifts!
It’s time to light up the stars!
Pastor Vladimir Ditmar (Kirov UMC)
Photos by V. Ditmar & Lena Kim
Video by Bishop Eduard Khegay
Bishop Eduard Khegay's feedback:
"I thank God for our brothers and sisters, for our youth! I've received so much grace through the communication here at the Youth Forum. I'm very happy that our young people have a passionate desire to serve with their gifts and praise our Lord".
Translate by V. Ditmar