The Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) Youth Pastoral Ministry said that over the next three years it will be seeking to strengthen its work in Central and South America.

A “Guide for Youth Workshops on the Millennium Development Goals” shortly will be made available to the Latin American public, said the council, which is based in Quito, Ecuador. Work on the guide began in November, 2010.

The new continental coordinator of the youth ministry is Nelson Fernando Celis Angel. Celis, 32, was born in Bogota, Colombia and is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia. He has specialized in childhood culture and development and is a theology graduate with studies in philosophy. Celis is also a professor at the National University of Colombia.

Before assuming his new position as Continental Coordinator, he was responsible for the coordination of the Caribbean and Greater Colombia Region of the CLAI Youth Pastoral Ministry.

The Executive Secretariat of CLAI, when it met in Quito from March 2-5, dealt with the ecumenical organization's programs, pastoral ministries, and regional secretariats. Facing the new triennium, the Youth Pastoral Ministry plans to position itself as a strategic actor in the Latin American ecumenical youth presence, interacting with other ecumenical and social youth organizations.

The CLAI Youth Pastoral Ministry developed two central themes in the previous triennium (2008-2010): formation of youth leadership for a culture of peace, and formation in sexual health and gender. Related themes were ecumenical formation, articulating with other networks, and the search for a greater commitment to transformation with society.

Outgoing coordinator Nicolas Iglesias said that “matters of high relevancy have been worked on in each national and Latin American context, such as the search for peace and conflict resolution, and a broader knowledge of sexual health rights and gender equity,” according to the council.