Youth Conference in Sierra Leone
The three-day Christadelphian Youth Sierra Leone Coalition Conference brings together over one hundred young Christadelphian young people from different Christadelphian ecclesias across Sierra Leone.
The Christadelphian Youth Sierra Leone Coalition Conference is a gathering of young people from different Christadelphian ecclesias across Sierra Leone. It was established eleven years ago, primarily to promote unity among the different youth groups, with the motto “Unity in Christ”.
The three-day conference, which is held every December, brings together over one hundred young Christadelphian young people across Sierra Leone. They can learn more about the Bible, discuss topics and issues that will enhance their spiritual growth, and socialize and strengthen the bond among the different groups.
Deprived of holding the conference last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, attending this year’s conference was a delight. The conference ran from December 17-19 in Bo, Sierra Leone’s second capital in the Southern province, the agreed location for the yearly event.
With the theme “Judge not, that you may not be judged” (Matt 7:1-5), the conference began with choruses, spiritual songs ministration, and hymns. In his opening address, the chairman of the coalition, Bro. Daniel Kamanda, welcomed members and reminded them about the purpose of the gathering, stressing it is to strengthen the bond among the different groups and members and enhance the faith of members.
He further emphasized that the spiritual aspect is the core priority of the gathering and therefore appealed to participants to be attentive to all discussion, and feel free to clarify things that may have been confusing to them.
He further encouraged members to be committed to ensuring that the youth coalition continues to be a success to help promote the Christadelphian faith and spread the gospel across Sierra Leone.
This year’s youth gathering in Bo provided a platform for members to discuss topics such as Christian marriage, Christadelphian beliefs about heaven-going, hell, Satan, demons, and the Devil. A brother made a presentation on each of these topics, and an opportunity was given to participants to ask questions, discuss and clear all doubts.
When making his presentation on Christian marriage, Bro. Abubakarr Kargbo reminded members of the true meaning of marriage.
“A wedding service may make a couple into husband and wife, but it does not make a marriage. Husband and wife need to work at their relationship out of love, care, and respect for one another. Marriage is a lifetime’s occupation, with the constant need to work with, and adjust to, each other,” he noted.
Bro. Kargbo also stated that the first priority for every marriage is the relationship of the couple with God. For all who follow Christ, the first and greatest commandment is still to love the Lord our God.
“This does not change when we marry” he stressed by quoting. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt 22:37, 38)
Bro. Kargbo emphasized, “It is our relationship with God which teaches us the responsibilities and priorities in all our other relationships, and it is He who designed all the delight and the comfort of a healthy marriage. This means that it is by taking God’s teaching seriously, that we will experience His richest blessing in every aspect of our lives, including marriage.”
Marriage is not presented to us by God as an ideal, idyllic state, to which none of us match up. It is presented as a blessing from God for fallible, stumbling human beings who need each other. The marriage that is perfect is the marriage that will last forever—our union with our Lord, in which we will know as we are known.
The man is the head of the woman, as Jesus is the head of the Church. In the same way that the Lord Jesus sacrificed himself for his bride, so must the husband for the wife. Both husband and wife are under a covenant relationship with the Lord Jesus, and it is the responsibility of each of them to resolve disagreements.
Prayer is at the heart of a deep, spiritual relationship. Praying, individually and together, will help us to build a firm foundation for marriage.
Bro. Albert Williams delivered a presentation on the topic “Heaven and hell.” Christadelphians do not share either the modern idea of heaven or hell for everyone, or the more traditional ideas of blessings in heaven and punishment in hell.
There are no eternal abiding places where people hope (or fear) to go to at death. This does not mean of course that there is no reward for the righteous or indeed no punishment reserved for the wicked. But whatever these might be, because of the harmony that exists throughout the Bible, such reward or punishment must be consistent with the facts that we have already established.
A consideration of what the Scriptures say concerning heaven encourages us to develop an understanding of what the Bible teaches about these vital questions of life and death. Heaven is God’s abiding place. Of course, in making such a statement we must not limit the power and transcendence of God, whom Scripture teaches to be everywhere present by His spirit.
Each day ended with social activities like athletics, football (soccer) games among the different groups and movies in the evening. On the final day of the conference, they observed the normal Sunday school and Breaking of Bread service, where Bro. Denis Mboya delivered the exhortation on the theme of the conference. Bro. Denis informed brothers and sisters that our duties are to restore brothers and sisters who may fall, and not to judge them, noting judgment belongs to the Lord.
The breaking of bread service was followed by a thanksgiving service that comprised youth activities, musical contributions from various groups, jokes, drama and more social activities. The conference also provided an opportunity for the membership to discuss plans to develop and expand the coalition, with executive members giving a report on various office activities. The highlight of this year’s conference was the introduction of new members from three new ecclesias.
Freetown Ecclesia, Sierra Leone