From Thursday October 13th to Sunday October 16 2022, twenty-three (23) youths, young adults and resource persons gathered in Kingston, Jamaica for the Caribbean Youth Initiative. In partnership with the Caribbean and North America Council for Mission (CANACOM), the CWM Caribbean Region staff worked with a small planning group to plan and organize the event. Participants came from the Cayman Islands, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Britain with our participant from the Dominican Republic unable to join the event. Participants gathered around the CWM theme ‘Rising to Life’ exploring ‘LIFE’ in terms of Leadership, Identities, Faithfulness and Empowerment.

The methodology deployed was interactive and included table/group work, input through facilitation, visits, arts, music, drama, worship and many opportunities for ongoing conversation through social gatherings and networking. The opening evening of getting to know each other, through games and creative depictions was a brilliant introduction of the participants, their giftings, and their roles in respective churches. The range included: students – dentist – ministerial students – sugar analyst – journalist – musician – youth workers – teachers, and more.

Exciting bible studies and creative worship focused on leadership, identity and belonging while facilitated input sessions deployed drama and other social media means to explore marginal bible characters and their leadership styles; a variety of methods to explore identity and belonging; and insights into doing theological reflections drawing on a wide range of resources. Our theological reflector used both practical and helpful tools to facilitate grounded reflections and conversations from the participants. And as part of the working outcomes, the group identified a number of follow items, expressed their commitment to cascading the learning points, and came up with a plan of action.

In the open evaluation and summing up participants expressed their delight on the timely nature of the gathering; the well-thought-out programme and relevant theme; and expressed both the energizing nature of the event and their commitment to continue working in their own contexts to encourage the work of youths in the life of their churches. The event provided a safe, challenging, encouraging, and refreshing space for the young participants.

Dated 24 October 2022