Youth church: praying, singing and talking together © Freedom Studio (shutterstock)
Through first communion and confirmation, young people have contact with the church. But what is important to keep the connection afterwards? Several aspects are important for the new youth church in Bornheim-Kardorf.
Interviewer: How did you come up with the idea of founding the new youth church "Himmel und aad" (Heaven and Earth)?
Michael Wiewiorra (co-founder of the Catholic youth church "Himmel und aad" in Bornheim-Kardorf): There were two reasons for this youth church. One is the design of the church interior. We have traditionally always arranged the pews elliptically on Holy Thursday. We then used this arrangement in the course of a youth service with confirmands.
We have found that we also want to offer something for the age after confirmation. This service has had a very lively reception. You could tell it had potential to grow into something really big. The concern is to bring young people from the age of 14 to 30 along and to inspire them for the church.
Interviewer: You say that after confirmation many young people stop going to church. What was it like?
Wiewiorra: That was not the case with me. That was because I was always involved in the altar boy youth work and also had my circle of friends there. We have worked together locally in our pastoral area for altar servers. This has kept this enthusiasm for church. If you are not now firmly anchored in a youth group – whether in altar boys or scouts – you often have a little more difficulty maintaining contact with the church after confirmation. Maybe then the wedding will be the first thing to build on it again. That is exactly what we would like to change.
Interviewer: You want to change that by offering more modern worship services?
Wiewiorra: Yes, the elliptically arranged pews allow people to communicate with each other, to enter into an exchange with the other person and still celebrate God in the center of the Eucharist. What is also added to this is the fact that we would like to change the way the service is organized. We want young people to participate in worship themselves and to have the opportunity to be actively involved in the service.
Likewise, we want to change the music. I like the classical church songs very much, but music is also danceable. Why shouldn't you also be able to dance in a youth service?
Interviewer: Are you sometimes a bit afraid that the project might fail??
Wiewiorra: I'm not afraid of that, because I'm sure that the project definitely won't fail. There is this need for young people. It is equally important that we can also talk about critical ies and about the big questions of life. We want to accompany young people in their search. The basis is there, that is, the need to answer the questions of life or at least to discuss them with one another among young people.
The project is also being shaped by the youth themselves, which is also a great advantage. It's true that there is strong support from the full-time side, but it's not as if something is being thrust upon us by the full-time staff.