This was the theme of the 50th Jubilee assembly of the All Africa Conference of Churches held at Munyonyo Conference centre in Uganda, Kampala. Being sent as a youth delegate was an eye opening and a very interesting experience. I had to learn very quickly that even though I am from Africa, I have a lot to learn from my fellow Africans and that we have a lot of differences. It was important for me to be included and not left behind and that was something that really happened naturally. I really felt like I knew the people in the group for years and we could easily have conversations about church and the situation in Africa.
I was truly touched to experience that all of the youth has two very important things in common. Firstly that we are very passionate about our continent and the challenges we are experiencing and secondly that there is no way that we are going to let this challenges break the unity between us, but we will rather stand united against it.
Another important thing that I realized is that as part of the youth, but also the whole conference we need to listen very closely to one another. At the beginning of the meeting I was very focused on raising my voice and making sure that I get heard, but as the meeting progressed I realized the importance of all the voices. We talked about dignity and that obviously raised some questions about the way women and youth are treated at the meeting. Unfortunately I have to admit that there is still some challenges in this area and leaps would need to made in the church if we want to be true to ourselves and relevant in the 21st century.
The youth delegates sang a song saying “It starts with me” and I was well and truly challenged to stop talking about what is going on and to change my ways of thinking and doing before I go and try to change other people. The challenge for the church is well and truly to start changing and challenging the systems on ground levels, unfortunately the church and the church leaders is sometimes ignoring our own problems and tries to overshadow it by pointing fingers.
For now the finger will be pointing to me and I will try my best and clean my own house before talking and pointing towards the other.