Young Voices from GC #2: Rev. Justin White

5/2/2012

Coming to General Conference has been an eye-opening experience for me. I am a lifelong United Methodist who was raised in a great church, Shiloh United Methodist Church outside of Pelahatchie, Mississippi. For as long as I remember, United Methodism has been an integral part of my life.

To me, United Methodism shows the breadth and scope of where the diversity of the world, the grace and love of God, and the tenants of Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience converge upon each other, calling each of us to be holy people. This holiness, both social and personal, is a holiness that flows from the love of God through Christ. This is why I love The United Methodist Church and this is why I am at General Conference.

This year I was asked to be on the board of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA, www.mfsaweb.org). It is a group that advocates for peace, for all people, for progressive theology, and it is a group that is seeking to eliminate poverty. It was an honor to become the Southeast Jurisdictional representative to the MFSA board, and I was also honored with a young adult scholarship to come to General Conference with MFSA to work on the Love Your Neighbor coalition.

I have been tracking judicial legislation, which looks at the church trial process and the language surrounding chargeable offenses. It has been truly interesting to see how our church judicial system works. I have also been blogging for MFSA and helping with various witnesses, including a witness for immigration rights and divestment from private prisons. As a young person, it is important to me that we as United Methodists continue to be an open people who stand up for justice and love for all people.

General Conference has been trying at times. However, it has provided a great opportunity to connect with delegates and visitors from all over the world. General Conference is truly a place that makes it clear that we are a connectional, diverse, and global church. I’ve met friends from every Jurisdiction and reconnected with friends from all over the globe. As we work towards inclusion and justice for all of God’s children, I am encouraged that The United Methodist Church is still working on behalf of the poor and of immigrants. We can still be a vital church that loves all people because God loves all people!

*Justin White is the pastor of youth and children's coordinator from Wells Church - UMC in Jackson.