New Fire is a network of ecumenical organizations, Christian communions and individuals that seek to revitalize the Church by engaging and developing the next generation of Christian leaders. Through New Fire, partners work together to increase their impact and outreach to young adults by building relationships, raising awareness, and increasing the capacity of each partner organization.
Beginning at the U.S. Conference for the World Council of Churches in 2005, a small group of young adult delegates and seminarians from various Christian communions gathered to share their hopes and vision for a renewed young adult ecumenical movement. This small group of young leaders recognized that active church participation among young adults in North America has waned over the past couple of decades, and that there were many organizations and Christian communions working to cultivate young adult leadership, but many of their initiatives were operating in isolation, without knowledge of one another, duplicating efforts and competing for funds.
In order to revitalize the younger generation’s participation in the Church and increase the capacity of young adult initiatives, organizations, communions and individuals banded together with a joint vision and strategy for engaging and developing young leaders. With support from the National Council of Churches-USA, New Fire was born as a way to connect and coordinate young adult initiatives. New Fire held its first gathering in 2008 at the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches-USA/Church World Service.
What We Do
New Fire provides opportunities for partner organizations and individuals to connect with one another, build relationships and collaborate on projects and initiatives. New Fire activities include:
- Young Adult Ecumenical Days: New Fire hosts an annual gathering for young adult leaders to come together to pray, network, share idas, discuss challenges and dialogue with seasoned ecumenists.
- Awareness and Outreach: Through outreach campaigns, including the New Fire website and various social media sites, New Fire connects ecumenically-minded young adults, stimulates ecumenical engagement, promotes New Fire activities and shares new from New Fire partners.
- Seed Grants for Local Ecumenical Projects: Through New Fire, young adult leaders have the opportunity to apply for small, seed grants to facilitate the growth of local ecumenical initiatives.
New Fire plans to establish internship programs that allow young adults to explore ecumenical issues from a variety of organizational perspectives. New Fire will also work with partner organizations to create or expand programs that seek to engage and develop young adult leaders, including stewards and internship programs.
New Fire is also working on developing an ecumenical formation curriculum for use among partners. In addition, it will work with partner organizations and institutions of higher learning to create a resource center that provides up-to-date information on issues involving young adults and the Christian faith.
In this multi-media age, New Fire recognizes that the arts are an important way to engage young adults. New Fire will encourage artistic expression and the strategic use of art as a means to communicate the ecumenical vision.
New Fire’s website FaithConnectsUs seeks to connect ecumenically engaged young adults through awareness, education and relationship via a web-based forum where they can all share news and events, jobs and opportunities, educational resources, personal story and witness, and strategies for activism. It is our belief that we are much better off in dialogue and relationship for the good of the ecumenical movement into the future. We invite all those who are new to the ecumenical movement, as well as engaged ecumenists to use FaithConnectsUs to broaden your own networks, while connecting into the greater body of Christ. We also encourage you to contribute to FaithConnectsUs with news and opportunities, as well as through story and dialogue.
For more information, contact FaithConnectsUs moderator, and Young Adult Ecumenical Formation Coordinator for the US Conference of the WCC and NCC-USA, David Fraccaro at email@example.com or call 212-870-2192 for more information. FaithConnectsUs is a ministry of the US Conference for the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches, USA.