Young person or group sought for General Conference address

3/14/2006

(UMNS) - The United Methodist Division on Ministries with Young People is seeking submissions for a young person or team of young people to address the denomination's 2008 General Conference. The deadline for applying is July 1.

The denomination's top legislative assembly, which meets every four years, will gather in Fort Worth, Texas, April 22-May 2, 2008. It will be the first time young people have been added to the agenda to address a General Conference.

The value of the voices of youth and young adults was affirmed when the 2004 General Conference voted overwhelmingly to add an address by a young person to the agenda for the 2008 General Conference. The 2004 conference also approved creating the Division on Ministries with Young People, housed at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

"There has been an incredible celebration of youth and young adults as we continue to dream a church," said Jay Williams, young adult delegate from Western New York, as he proposed adding the address to the 2008 conference.

Youth and young adults served as vice chair people of legislative committees, led subcommittees and spoke many times on the floor throughout the 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh.

"There has really been a strong outpouring of love and support for young people. We have been encouraged to continue to be witnesses, to continue to dream and hope," Williams said.

"For a young person to make an address to the 2008 General Conference shows the entire church that young people can be in leadership and have a voice," said Julie O'Neal, Scottsdale, Ariz. Along with Williams, she was co-chairperson of the Shared Mission Focus on Young People, which preceded the new division. "We have some good things for the denomination to hear."

The Division on Ministries with Young People is requesting submissions of videotapes from people who would like to deliver the Young People's Address. United Methodists between the ages of 12 and 30 are eligible. The deadline for the process is July 1, 2006. Those interested should send a 10-minute videotape featuring a presentation that addresses the concerns and dreams of young people in the United Methodist Church and a transcript of the speech, which can be in the applicant's native language.

The Division on Ministries on Young People will select the speaker or speakers at its August meeting and notify the successful applicants by Sept. 1. For more information, contact Jay Clark at (615) 340-7058 or jclark@gbod.org.

Videos and transcripts should be sent to Young People's Address, Young People's Ministries, P.O. Box 340003, Nashville, TN 37203-0003.