An alliance of youth from varied faith groups in Brazil has formed with the goals of ending racial and religious intolerance, promoting social and environmental justice using art and theater, while increasing their political clout.
The group, the Ecumenical Youth Network (REJU) began in 2007, according to Brazilian national youth facilitator Daniel Souza. “REJU is made up of people that embrace the youth cause, not by churches or organizations. It is an eclectic group, with persons of different ages, places and formations,” Souza told the Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC).
Souza said there are about 300 members, including Catholics, Evangelicals, autonomous Pentecostals, Buddhists, Hare Krishna and others.
The groups has been heavily involved in an advisory role to Brazil’s National Youth Secretariat, Souza said, formulating guidelines of government action, to promote studies and research on the socioeconomic realities of youth and ensure that government policy recognizes the rights of youth and expands citizen participation.
In 2011, the group published, “The Spirit blows where it wants … Biblical Studies for An Ecumenical Coexistence,” discussions on religious intolerance produced by Methodist, Lutheran, Anglican and Baptist youth.
In the near future, REJU will be discussing biblical studies and intergenerational dialogues by theologians Leonardo Boff, Ivone Gebara, and philosopher Jorge Atilio Lulianelli, in a project supported by the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI), the Lutheran Foundation for Diakonia (FLD), and the Ecumenical Center for Biblical Studies (CEBI).
Souza told ALC that the group’s influence on youth in public policies, the strengthening of the ecumenical journey, and dealing with intolerance has been felt across the country. This has allowed a wider perspective in dealing with issues, furthering the notion among young people that ecumenism has value.
The group’s web site can be found here.