The South Asian Christian Youth Network’s (SACYN) 5th leadership training module took place at Paradise Beach Hotel, Negambo, Srilanka between the 9th and 13th of October 2017. Three delegates from CSI : Rev Jason (Krishna Godavari Diocese), Mrs Phobe Nancy (Malabar Diocese) and Ms Naomi Nancy (Vellore Diocese) attended the conference.
The theme of this conference was ‘Tides that we swim against: Leadership in difficult times’. There were delegates from all the seven South Asian countries and other countries like Australia, United Kingdom and Malaysia. The main of this training was to help young Christian leaders understand, assess and develop bodies and movements and also formulate strategies to foster growth and achieve sustainable impact through Christian leadership in a pluralistic context.
The ‘SACYN Book’ which details the journey of SACYN from its inception for the past 15 years was released in this conference by its founder Rev Adrian Watkins and Rev Vinod Victor, Australia. It was a historic moment for SACYN.
There were sessions on Political reality: Locally & Globally, Social reality: Civil society’s service & advocacy and Commercial reality: Business & Enterprise taken by experts from the respective fields. These sessions enabled the delegates to understand that as young Christian leaders we have a bigger social responsibility to stand for justice, the voiceless, in a society filled with corruption, discrimination, inequality and men of selfish motives.
During one of the days of the conference the delegates were also taken for exposure visits to the port city, slum areas of the city, labor union and an NGO that works for the liberation of the Tamils in Srilanka. These visits enlightened the delegates of the struggles of the marginalized and the poor. It widened their thinking and motivated each one to vow to pray for their emancipation. It was clear from the discussions after the visits that, all the South Asian countries have similar social problems that need to be addressed specially by the church.
The keynote address for the conference was delivered by Dr Vinod Ramachandra, a Nuclear Physics scientist. He spoke on the theme ‘Servant Leadership: Limitations, Initiatives, Integrity and the Hope of a servant leader’.
Three workshops were also a part of the conference focusing on three themes: Leadership challenges & Mission, Leadership challenges in Religious Fundamentalism & Peace, Communication & Fund raising. Delegates actively participated and shared their views and thoughts.
In addition to all these, there were series of sessions on analyzing systems, developing road map for formation of systems and organizations involving the youth to present their own church structures and the youth bodies and critically analyzing them led by Mr Raj Patel, CMS coordinator, UK.
Overall, it was an enriching experience for all the delegates. It also paved way for new friendships and fellowships among the different South Asian Christian Youth. This also facilitated the youth of different culture to share their experiences and pray meaningfully for each other.