Following the completion of the Anabaptist Academy program, KAC expanded its educational component to include a new intensive program geared specifically at young adults in the 20-30 age range.
Starting April 4 2011, KAC began this exploration of Anabaptism with six participants, and the program will run for 12 weeks until the end of June. As the students study at KAC three days a week (totaling 12 hours per week), the curriculum is quite broad and includes a wide range of topics including Anabaptist history, theology and worship; exploration of global and social issues through an Anabaptist faith lens; peace, mediation and restorative justice; and discipleship and support for healthy relationships.
Classes are facilitated by KAC staff members Kyong Jung Kim, Jae Young Lee, and Yongjin Jeong, as well as Mennonite Church Canada volunteers Erv and Marian Wiens and Sarah Blackwell, Seattle-based Mennonite pastor Amy Epp, and soon-to-be Connexus teachers and Mennonite Mission Network workers Sydney McCully and Katrina Bechthold. The majority of the program is presented in English, to assist participants in improving their language ability, but the Korean-speaking KAC staff also provide some opportunities for students to take a portion of the program in Korean, their first language.
Participants also take part in KAC-Connexus community life, including preparing and partaking in community meals, attending devotional and prayer times, and just simply being loved and valued members of the KAC family!
It is important to KAC to also offer these types of programs geared towards the younger generation, both within the church and beyond. As program coordinator Yongjin Jeong puts it, “The younger generation in the church needs this type of program in which to gain understanding about living in the kingdom of God, both here and now, and for their future.” He goes on to explain that Jesus calls us to a unique way of life that is often in conflict with the politics and social norms of this world, and that as followers of Christ these young people have great potential to challenge the current understandings of life, and the root causes of suffering, injustice and exploitation in the world.
Participants have come to the program from many circumstances, from places of considering conscientious objection from mandatory military service for young men in Korea, to experiencing church or family conflict, or preparing to participate in MCC’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) beginning this summer, and other contexts as well.
The support and resources they are receiving through this program are invaluable to their faith development and future life. “I came here to learn how we as Christians should live our lives, the practical things, beyond just what we can read or hear about,” says one participant when asked his feelings about the program. “I can receive new viewpoints about faith, and see clear examples of Christian living.”