Yesterday night the Festival skyrocketed from the Main Stage. The Festival Crowd gathered in some expectation and excitement when the big clock started to tick away. Drums were beaten in a heavy rhythm, excitement grew as the clock counted down to ZERO.
It was the Stop Poverty Campaign of GLOBAL, YMCA-YWCA of Norway and a number of other YMCAs around the world. The clock demonstrated that the time was 2030 and that bringing extreme poverty down to zero is possible in our lifetime, in fact that this generation should see it as our responsibility to stop poverty, bring it down to zero.
Håvard and his friends from Ten Sing Norway came on stage, a band was playing and the crowd started to be warmed up, the sound of the Festival came to new heights as we were taken through classical songs like Kyrie Eleison, Man in the Mirror and many more.
The music made people dance and shout and sing along, and the Stop Poverty Campaign put on a breathtaking show that gave the Festival intensity and joy and enthusiasm and tons of inspiration.
In between the many songs and dances we were given short, but powerful messages, like how we can change the world if every one of us moved five other people and they moved five new people and on and on. And people started to shake hands around the Festival site. It is a long time since I have witnessed such a fantastic show with so much energy and so much inspiration and power.
Håvard and more of his friends in the Stop Povery team are also Change Agents and I must say I felt waves of unlimited pride when I followed them in their fabulous stage show. And all set up not to glorify themselves or to make money or to win any talent competition, but to stop poverty now!
Excitement again grew to new heights when we were challenged to sign the campaign on internet, and we could sign for ourselves and we could sign for our group. I decided together with Ken Colloton, our World YMCA President, that we would sign for our group as well. And up on the screen came the number of “our group”, the world wide YMCA movement: 58 000 000 people in the fight against extreme poverty. Quickly followed our sisters from the World YWCA with 25 000 000 people so that the campaign starts on 83 000 000 people fighting poverty, and counting. Other big movements around the world will now be approached and asked to sign the campaign.
And Håvard was singing and singing. I could not stop thinking that I had selected both his parents to be young participants in the Ten Sing Norway team, 45 young people who toured Germany in 1986/87 for a full year and started Ten Sing in Germany. I was traveling with them for a year, and I sung with Håvard’s parents, Gunnar and Anne, in the choir in more than 50 concerts during that year. One of our songs was Kyrie Eleison, and now Håvard was singing Kyrie in 2013 for Stop the Poverty. Amazing perspectives!
The Festival is rolling on and the Festival Crowd is a very happy one. Yesterday they took the Festival to the city of Prague, and showed the population of Prague what YMCA means today. Back home in base a lot of different activities took place, like ballgames of all kinds,
Four happy Change Agents.
Jose opened the day for Change Agents Training with an excellent devotion about leadership, and he underlined that leadership is not about power, but about service!
Selma is giving an inspirational presentation of the One Million Voices Research and is bombarded with questions and ideas afterwards.
Matheus from Porto Alegre YMCA is working for three months in the World YMCA office in Geneva and I showed him as a great example of servant leadership and tried to inspire other YMCAs to send their staff people for three months to Geneva.
The President is coming to town! Ken Colloton came to the Festival yesterday and was greater by his friends from all continents!
The time is used for many side meetings, because so many people are coming together for the Festival. Here the World Council next year is being planned by Kent and Mary from Estes Park, USA, Tom Valentine, YMCA of the USA, Selma and myself from World YMCA.
Members of the Swiss YMCA-YWCA has built an amazing construction in the trees. They are living and sleeping up there in the trees, and it is absolutely magnificent! Congratulations, Swiss friends!
A previous President of YMCA Europe, Terry Ratcliffe, has arrived to celebrate the 40 years of YMCA Europe today!
Another former President of YMCA Europe, Peter Posner, is running the Good News Show every night – good job, Peter! And nice outfit!
And last, but not least, Roland Werner, the National Secretary of German YMCA, is giving the Bible inputs every night, and people are listening and enjoying. Good job, Roland. Roland will also give the devotions in Estes Park World Council next year.
And the Festival is rolling on. Congratulations, YMCA Europe!!!!