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Young adult passion for church inspires delegates


Nicole Cober Bauman inspires Canadian delegates: Impressive goals to unite young adult passion for the church.

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July 8, 2005
-by Dan Dyck

Charlotte N.C. — Suzanne Bender and Nicole Cober Bauman inspired Canadian delegates when they testified to their passions and desires to be involved at all levels of the church.

Suzanne Bender represents Mennonite Church Canada on a planning team for Nidas Festival 2006, an ecumenical festival (Aug 4-6) with the theme “Streams of Living Water”.

“We have something to say to the broader Christian community as Mennonites,” said Bender of Steinmann MC in Ontario. “Ecumenism isn’t just about papering over the cracks and differences. [It’s about] looking for common ground while learning about the diversity in tradition. The church has a message for the world but, infighting hinders the communication of that.”

Bauman (Tavistock MC, Ont.) is part of an informally organized group of young adults initiating conversations with church leaders, seeking greater involvement in the church at all levels. She has impressive goals to unite young adult passion for the church, make intentional “structural” room for young adult involvement, and encourage the various generations in the church to cultivate more mutual relationships. Actively recognizing and matching the gifts of young adults with opportunities to serve at all levels of the church would go a long way, said Bauman.

“These conversations have shed light on our common passion for the church. These conversations have been so energetic because we feel a deep connections to the Mennonite Church and find within it valuable pieces of our forming identities. Thus we want to express gratitude and affirmation for the formative nurture with which the church has provided us throughout our lives,” she told delegates.

Bauman noted the challenge in defining ‘young adults.’ Typically in transition between home communities and distant schools, jobs, or service projects, it is “… through these new experiences that we are faced with challenges that often drastically shape our beliefs, values [and] world views.

“… New ways of doing church through these formative years and new experiences… young adults gain perspectives which are unique to this phase of life, and hold great potential value for the life of the church as it grapples with many tough and divisive issues.”