“We are divided as two but in Christ we are still one” affirmed the Church of South India Telugu Regional Youth Network
The Church of South India Synod Youth Department organized a Telugu regional Youth Conference on the theme “Youth Discipleship in the Context of Empire”. This youth conference was scheduled on 19th and 20th of August 2017 and was held at CSI Institute of Technology, Secunderabad, Diocese of Medak. This conference enabled 140 young people from 6 dioceses belonging to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to come together, to strengthen their fellowship and network as the youth leaders of Telugu region.
This Youth Conference was inaugurated by the Deputy Moderator and the Bishop in Dornakal Diocese Rt. Rev. Dr. Vadapalli Prasada Rao and Rt. Rev. Dr. A.C. Solomon Raj, Bishop in Medak Diocese. The Deputy Moderator in his inaugural address reminded the call given by Jesus to come and follow him as disciples amidst the challenges and struggles, he emphasized that discipleship always comes with a cost and in entails a lot of commitment and responsibility towards Christ and his people.
The conference dealt with Understanding Empire in Today’s Context, Growing as Disciples amidst the Empire, and Looking at Alternative Spirituality and reimaging Church in todays Context.
Rt. Rev. Dr. A.C. Solomon Raj, Bishop in Medak diocese explicated the presence of Empire in the time of Jesus and also how it has taken different shapes in today’s context. He recognized The neo liberal policies of the governments, the agenda of the first world against the third world countries, the oppressive structures and systems and shrinking space in the political and religious freedom based on the agenda of Hindutva are such empires which is very oppressive in nature. He encouraged the Young people to identify the impacts of these Empiric elements in the day-to-day struggles of people and also to analyze how life -negating or life affirming they are.
Rev. Dr. Praveen Prabhu Sudhir the Auxiliary Secretary of Bible Society of India, Telangana region spoke about growing as disciples amidst this Empire. He brought the examples of Martin Luther King Jr., and Dietrich Bonhoeffor, shared their life experiences and encouraged the young people to lead a life of faithfulness and commitment amidst the Empire.
On the second day Rev. James Cecil Victor, Director of Pastoral Concerns, CSI Synod took a bible study on “Understanding Spirituality in Today’s Context” he challenged the young people to look at spirituality as faith with action in always taking responsibility for others and engaging oneself with the struggles of the weak and the marginalized.
Rt. Rev. Dr. Reuben Mark, Bishop in Karimnagar Diocese, pointed out that an alternative spirituality is possible when we move beyond the attitude of self towards the other. He challenged the young people to take up responsibilities within the churches in catering to the need of people and it’s supporting the mission and ministry of the Church
Rt. Rev. Dr. Royce Manoj Victor, Chairperson of the CSI Synod Youth Department, visited the Telugu Regional Youth Conference to encourage the youth leaders of Telugu region. He in his address spoke about the vision for the Youth Department and motivated the Telugu Region Youth Leadership to take efforts in building a concrete regional youth network in the near future to come. He interacted with the young people and motivated them to take their faith and church commitment seriously.
Apart from these sessions, a Sunday morning worship service was conducted by regional youth directors, various other games, and group activities including a cultural night were the highlights of this conference. As the conference concluded three young leaders from each Diocese were called to form a core team in planning for more regional activities in the near future to come.
The Synod Youth Department whole heartedly thanks the Bishops of the Telugu Dioceses and their Youth Directors who encouraged their young people to come and attend this program. With gratitude it places on record the support rendered by the Bishop in Medak Diocese Rt. Rev. A. C Solomon raj, the officers of the Diocese and the Youth Secretary Mr. Mervyn Raj and his team of youngsters who took care of all the arrangements and logistics involved in organizing this event in Diocese of Medak.