During the gathering they shared and lived out their spirituality, interchanged experiences, work and discussions of topics such as social justice, responsibility for creation, Christian ethical responsibility, and about their reformed identity, keeping the ideas of reformer John Calvin’s present – on his 500th anniversary -, from a reading of the signs of the times and illumined by the word of God.
“As Christian youth that want to accept the call of God and in the search for the building of God’s kingdom, we manifest our concerns and we recognize our responsibility for having forgotten to be witnesses of Jesus Christ, who is revealed and renews us through the announcing of life in abundance for all,” said the AIPRAL youth.
“This is especially noticeable,” continues the gathering’s statement, ”when we look at realities like: the current economic dynamics established within the speculation of an economic and criminal system that brings human beings to render worship to the market and condemns millions of people to death; the level of exploitation of natural resources, the contamination of the planet and the degradation of the environment that puts all that lives on the earth at risk; the lack of commitment on the part of Christian sectors to the defense of life and human dignity; the use of the word of God not to announce life but to legitimate unjust causes; the silence that is kept before the millions of people that are condemned to a direct or indirect death, as a result of the lack of opportunities, which denies human rights and profanes creation; having transformed us into objects that are manipulated within the consumerism that corrupts and degrades our essence, moving us away from God’s project.”
"Appealing to our Christian ethical responsibility, we commit ourselves to work toward bringing personal and social sin to an end. We hear the call of God, who invites and welcomes us to work for the defense and reestablishment of creation and of our essence as God’s children,” says the statement.
Among the specific commitments mentioned in the statement are: To always look for a new alternative that brings life in abundance to all people and in harmony with nature; to raise our awareness and that of those around us as to the current state of creation and the conditions of humanity so as ‘to take off the blinds over our eyes’ with a simple methodology and concrete examples from our daily work; to foment responsible consumption and in harmony with creation, such as sustainable development; to purchase products that are necessary for use and not for abuse; to look for and to preserve our identity and culture, beginning with what is local; to teach the children Christian values, so that they are formed in the search for a healthier life, for themselves and their neighbor; in other words, to be a reference for others and for the future generations; to embark on a continental campaign of ethical resistance against consumerism.
The youth of the Southern Cone and Andean Regions of AIPRAL belong to the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil; the Reformed Churches in Argentina; the Evangelical Church of Río de la Plata; the Waldensian Evangelical Church of Río de la Plata; the Congregational Evangelical Church of Paraguay; the Presbyterian Church of Chile; the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Chile. As fraternal participants, there were youth from the Presbyterian Church of the United States; the Presbyterian Church of Colombia and the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI, Spanish acronym).
Photo: AIPRAL Youth Gathering, Brazil