Young people take leadership roles at Annual Conference Session

June 11, 2016
Alfred Dworak, a youth delegate from Longs Peak UMC in Longmont, Colorado, speaks on the plenary floor June 11 about Mission Shaped Future. Photo by Charmaine Robledo, Director of Communications, Mountain Sky Area
Submitted by the Rev. Phil Rogers
Pastor of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Longs Peak UMC, Longmont, Colorado

I reported to you about the work that our young people had done in preparation for Annual Conference Session. The group of 20 gathered on Wednesday evening, June 9, to participate in a crash course in all things related to Annual Conference. In my last article, I struggled to communicate just how valuable this time is to our young people and how they participate in the work of Annual Conference. On Friday, June 10, however, I repeatedly experienced first-hand or overheard others talking with their peers about this youth or that young adult that had made an impression on others.

I was part of the Holy Conferencing group where Daniel from Good Shepherd UMC in Thornton, Colorado, and Cole from St. Lukes UMC in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, led the discussion related to the petitions on conference boundaries and a possible Mission-Shaped Future in the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area. We focused our talks heavily toward what it looks like to welcome, embrace, and celebrate the gifts of our young people in our local congregations – a crucial part of welcoming, embracing, and celebrating our young people in our Annual Conference. Both youth spoke clearly with a vision for providing resources to churches that help to equip the adults to develop young Christian leaders.

A buzz was in the air after legislative committee meetings – Alfred Dworak, from Longs Peak and possibly the conference's youngest delegate, had proposed an amendment to a petition his committee (Group B) was responsible for reviewing and reporting back to plenary. The petition, as amended, was overwhelmingly supported. Young adults Doug Palmer, Sami Cassidy, and youth Susan; all who also part of the delegation from Longs Peak were instrumental in their leadership to legislative committees A and C. Both committees were reported to have been run smoothly and with a high level of grace and humility.

Saturday, June 11 proved to be just as exciting as time for our young people who are empowered to speak their opinions. Doug led our lay delegation at General Conference last month and today he reported on the hope he found in the midst of the confusion, fear, and at times the hurt. “God is present in the midst of our darkest times.” Harvey Tukutau spoke of the amazing opportunity for growth in his own leadership that he experienced at GC2016. Many of our young people have spoken in the plenary session, asking questions and speaking both for and against legislative petitions, resolutions, and amendments.

We should be extraordinarily proud of our young people in attendance at Annual Conference Session this year. They have proven to be interested, invested, and capable of participating fully in all parts of Annual Conference. Each of them has conducted themselves with grace, love, humility, and boldness. It is my opinion that the Rocky Mountain Conference of The United Methodist Church is in great hands with each of us working group together alongside of and following the lead of these young people. To God be the Glory. Amen.