Two young people selected to share their thoughts and witness with delegates at the 2016 General Conference are also preparing to spread a message from the church’s young people to all United Methodists throughout the worldwide connection.
Chelsea Spyres, from Detroit, Michigan, and Peter Cibuabua, from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will deliver the Young People’s Address at the General Conference (GC) next May in Portland, Oregon. They were chosen from among video submissions made by young United Methodists around the world to the Division on Ministries with Young People (DMYP), part of Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.
“This will not be an address by youth for youth. This will be an address by young people for the whole church,” said Carl Thomas Stroud Gladstone, the YPM’s regional staff member for the North Central Jurisdiction.
Both Spyres and Cibuabua will present their witness, along with video testimony by other young people from around the connection, on May 14, 2016, at the quadrennial meeting of the church’s top legislative body.
“This Young People’s Address is designed to make the best use of witnesses from all the young people participating in it,” Gladstone said. “So while Peter and Chelsea will serve as our in-person speakers at General Conference, the videos and thoughts of all the other submitters will be shared ahead of and following the address through social media and our Young People’s Ministries Podcast. With this process, we hope to create an ongoing witness by young people for the benefit of the ministry of The United Methodist Church.”
Spyres, 23, a Global Mission Fellow/US-2 of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, is working with the NOAH Project in Detroit. Her two-year mission opportunity with the Christian community that serves low income and homeless people was a foundational experience in her video submission for the Young People’s Address. Spyres, from Newark, Delaware, was also active in the Wesley Foundation at the University of Delaware.
Cibuabua, 28, an engineer in Kinshasa, has participated in the Young Africa Leaders Summit and Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly, both conducted by Young People’s Ministries (YPM). He sees power in personal relationships as a way to bring people into the joy of Christ. The United Methodist Church has been the community that has helped him develop spiritual practices and social actions as a response to his faith in Jesus.
In the coming months, Spyres and Cibuabua will join Gladstone and others from YPM on Skype to develop their GC address and the broader message from United Methodist young people to the church.
“We’re going to be asking them to help us build this message with their particular ideas as the core,” Gladstone said. “And we also want them to serve a curators of the other ideas submitted by young people.”
In addition to Spyres and Cibuabua, a diverse group of young people gathered to take part in General Conference will serve as the “amen corner” on stage for the address, Gladstone said.
A variety of social media platforms will be used by YPM to deliver the young people’s message to United Methodists worldwide.
“We hope that people will watch the address online through the General Conference livestream,” Gladstone said. “Folks also can RSVP to watch here on our Facebook page.”
Before and after the address, the UMC Young People’s Podcast (here) will feature video and audio interviews with all the young people who submitted their thoughts for the address.
“Plus, we invite everyone to be watching for and using the hashtag #UMYPA on social media to keep the Young People’s Address going as a continuing witness by young people to the United Methodist Church,” Gladstone said.
The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit www.UMCdiscipleship.org, the Press Center at www.UMCdiscipleship.org/about/press-center or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.