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Youth Summit in Chicago promotes peace

Posted: November 15 2014 at 12:00 AM
Author: Anne Marie Gerhardt


More than 150 youth and youth leaders from United Methodist Churches in Chicago and Chicagoland gathered to promote peace on a Friday evening in the city.

The “Youth Summit in the City” took place at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood. The youth took part in several activities designed to reflect the summit’s theme, promoting peace. They also gathered together and watched a performance by F.C.B.C (For Children By Children) Drama Company.

Youth outreach specialists from Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, YOU (Evanston, IL), the Chicago Police Department and others also led conversation circles. Some of the youth said some ways to promote peace is to “take away the guns”, “more reinforcement”, “love yourself and love others”, “stop bullying”, and “reach out to people in need”.

Children learned to make origami paper cranes (an international symbol of peace). These cranes will be sent to city leaders and elected officials with messages of promoting peace from the Youth Summit in the City participants.

youthsummit2The objective of the summit is to have youth feel empowered so that they can promote peace and equip youth leaders to lead and advocate for promoting peace in their churches, schools, and communities they live in.

“The most important thing I hope the youth took away from the event is that the peace within them is going to create peace within their communities, their schools and families,” said Rev. Robert Biekman, NIC Urban Ministries Coordinator.

Bishop Sally Dyck greeted the youth. “We come here tonight to learn how to be peacemakers,” she said. “Part of following Jesus is that we seek forgiveness, reconciliation in all the places we go, which might be home, school or our communities. When you make peace, you help bring peace to the world.”

youthsummit14The General Secretary of the General Board of Church & Society Susan Henry-Crowe paid a special visit to the youth from Washington D.C. “I wanted to come here tonight because I hear you are young people who are working for peace and I want to share your stories,” she said.

Youth Summit in the City represents a collaboration between the Northern Illinois Conference Urban Strategy, Youth, and SBC21 initiative. The Northern Illinois Urban Strategy’s aim is to improve the quality of life in urban centers by building the capacity of urban churches to effectively engage the communities they serve in the areas of community safety, restorative justice, education & literacy and food security.

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