Germany: Second Generation Educators Workshop
By Orlande Schenk, FFWPU Germany
On March 1st to 3rd in Camberg, Germany over 50 participants representing 15 European nations gathered together as 2nd generation educators. The title of the meeting was «Creating a Community that Cares» and it was an open invitation for anyone to come to the who had a heart to love and support young people, even if they don’t have a leadership title. Most attendees were 2nd generation aged from 19 to 39 years old, as well as a few 1st generation who have been educating 2nd gen for many years.
BFD director of Europe, Orlande Schenk, initiated this meeting because she saw that many Blessed Families, especially 2nd generation families, are isolated or distancing themselves from their church communities. The purpose of the workshop was to gain a deeper understanding of the unique situations that the second generation are facing in their local communities and find ways to encourage more young people to be involved.
From the very beginning of the meeting, the culture of heart was felt as we gathered in a circle to introduce ourselves and received a warm welcoming message from European Director Mike Balcomb. We closed the night singing Saranghae together.
The second day was focused on lifestyle and connecting back to our spiritual roots and what it means to be a Blessed Child and Blessed Family. Andrew Love, from High Noon presented about their work to substantially change the fallen world culture of pornography to a culture of heavenly sexuality. Through various group discussions, participants were able to share deeply together. Saturday concluded with an honest heart-to- heart discussion of concerns around how 2nd generation and 1st generation can better understand one another and work harmoniously together.
The final day, Sunday, was about action! We learned about current youth and community projects, such as YSP, and brainstormed new ideas. The overall spirit of the workshop was a sincere motivation to speak honestly about challenges in communities in order to find steps to move forward together. We concluded with a prayer at the Holy Ground.
“Honestly, this experience was so important for me, thank you for putting so much effort into organizing it and inviting the lecturers and us, the participants. It was great, I felt such support from both staff and participants that I deeply wished for and yet never told anyone I needed. I’m very grateful for these couple of days I could spend in beautiful Camberg, the discussions with tears and laughter, the one on one sharings of heart, the guidance and content you gave with such love – it was beautiful. Thank you!” – 21 year old 2nd gen sister
“I’m really happy about Discussions and possibility to meet other 2nd gen educators. Thank you for this workshop, it was really good time.!” – 19 year old 2nd gen brother
“Most of the people I talked with were not exactly sure what the workshop was going to hold, but, just like me, they still felt a strong urge to participate. The title “Creating a Community that Cares” was probably the hook that caught us. Already on the first evening of the workshop I felt a deep appreciation of and connection with the rest of the participants because it was clear that everyone there had a deep heart of love and concern for our younger brothers and sisters. The heartfelt messages by Dr. Balcomb, Orlande Schenk, Yun-a Johnson and Andrew Love were inspiring and extremely relevant. The opportunities to share and connect with others were also incredibly valuable for me. In my opinion the most important point of the workshop was however the Q&A / sharing session where we divided into groups based on our age. In the oldest group many of us elder 2nd gen had the opportunity to share what was on our hearts while Dieter and Ana Schmitt, representing the 1st gen, listened to us. Gratitude and commitment came out but so did a lot of deep pain and frustration that usually does not have a healthy platform to be expressed and therefore remains unresolved. This workshop felt like a first step on the time-taking, yet absolutely crucial journey we need to take in order to unite and create Cheon Il Guk within our communities. The next steps are now up to each one of us.” – 29 year old 2nd Gen brother
“I actually consider the time AFTER the Workshop my “favorite” – especially when I was able to share with my community, as well as listen to the testimony of another participant, who shared about how hopeful she had become towards our movement after the workshop… This was beautiful.” – 22 year old 2nd gen sister.