European youth work: new struc­tures


From February 16 to 18, 2024, delegates from several countries met in Hamburg (Germany) for the first EMYCF (Methodist Forum for Work with Children and Young People in Europe).

Together into the future

From February 16 to 18, 2024, delegates from several countries met in Hamburg (Germany) for the first EMYCF (European Methodist Youth and Children’s Forum).


After the work of the previous European Methodist Youth and Children’s Council (EMYC) had come to an end, it became increasingly clear that a successor organization was needed with a view to a common path into the future. This organization should connect people who are responsible for working with children, youth and young adults at a European level. Against this background, the European Methodist Yoiuth and Children’s Forum (EMYCF) was founded.


In February 2024, delegates from the Methodist Churches in Ireland, Great Britain and Portugal, from the three European Central Conferences of The United Methodist Church (Nordic and Baltic, Germany, Central and Southern Europe) and from United Churches in Italy, Spain and Sweden traveled to Hamburg. The initial meeting of the EMYCF took place there, at which the working methods and objectives of the new Forum were defined:


•   As the successor organization to the European Methodist Youth and Children’s Council (EMYC), EMYCF connects people who bear responsibility in the various Churches in the area of children, youth, and young adults.

•   EMYCF is coordinated, financed, and administratively supported by the European Methodist Council (EMC).

•   The various Churches and central conferences send up to two delegates to EMYCF. This ensures a good balance between the UMC and the other Churches. Above all, however, it is very easy to work in this manageable group of delegates. Ecological considerations also played a role in the decision to keep the forum rather small.

•   EMYCF takes place annually and lasts one weekend from Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime.

•   Two convenors are elected from the forum. Every year one convenor leaves the team, and another is elected for a two-year term. Due to the overlap, there is always a joint leadership of one new person and one person who has already worked in the previous year. This model is also recommended to the Churches for sending delegates.


Some details still need to be clarified, such as ways of working together and sharing resources or materials via the internet.


In terms of content, the exchange mainly revolved around the questions: "How do children, young people, and young adults live in Europe today? What are the similarities and differences in the various countries? How can EMYCF support the Churches' ministry to and with young people?" Initial ideas on the last question have already been spun – subsequent EMYCF meetings will follow up on these initial ideas.


Pastor Martin Obermeir-Siegrist (Austria) and Pastor Gjergj Lushka (Albania), who attended the initial meeting on behalf of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe, summarized their impressions and hopes as follows: "It was nice to see that the EMYCF right from the start has been made up of extremely competent people who are inspired by Christian service to young people."


Urs Schweizer, Assistant to Bishop Stefan Zürcher, Zurich (Switzerland)

based on a report by Martin Obermeir-Siegrist (Austria) and Gjergj Lushka (Albania)

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