ELCJHL Youth Gather for Leadership Training

To the right, browse through photos from the event by clicking the arrows, or click here to go to the photo gallery.

BETHLEHEM/JERUSALEM, 9 September 2011 –Over this past weekend 27 youth from ELCJHL congregations in Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank gathered in Bethlehem for a 5-day workshop on Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the role they play in the lives of Palestinian Lutherans today.

Presentations took the youth through the life and work of Martin Luther from his training as a lawyer, through the thunderstorm revelation and call, to his days as a monk, his theological training, to his teaching, the nailing of the 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, his trial, the translation of the Bible into German, the Augsburg Confession, and beyond.

The deep, animated discussions surrounding each presentation evidenced the youth’s interest in learning more about their Lutheran identity and how they live out their faith amidst their predominantly Muslim society.

Central to their discussions of Martin Luther and Lutheran theology was a Lutheran understanding of Scripture as that which shows forth Christ, and Luther’s small catechism, especially Luther’s explanation to the Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.

Throughout all of the presentations was an emphasis on the Lutheran understanding of Justification by Grace, through Faith on account of Christ.

The workshop also emphasized the nurturing of leadership skills in the youth and the lifting up of the youth’s voice within the ELCJHL as the church of today, not the church of tomorrow.

The youth also took some time out for relationship-building, with an afternoon excursion to the pool and a final barbeque and campfire at the Evangelical Lutheran School in Beit Sahour.

When asked at the end of the workshop to reflect on their learning, responses included:

  • “Reformation starts from within.”
  • “Everyone in society counts; don’t underestimate your abilities.”
  • “I learned that I could be a leader.”
  • “In everything we’ve done, I came to see the other person as my brother and sister, not just as a friend.”
  • “I learned that an effective leader listens to others, and doesn’t take into account on his or her own opinion—others count.”

The ELCJHL is very proud of their youth, and is so happy to be able to spend time and effort empowering and equipping them to be faithful leaders in the church today.

This gathering was part of the Sahiroon Youth Leadership Training Program of the ELCJHL. The Sahiroon program is now in its third year of programming, through which 30 ELCJHL youth between the ages of 13 and 18 have gathered to study the Bible, Lutheran theology and identity, and to develop their leadership skills.  To learn more about the Youth Ministry of the ELCJHL, click here.

The ELCJHL is thankful to the Lutheran World Federation for its generous funding of this program.