NASHVILLE, Tenn. | GBOD - The future of The United Methodist Church is being represented in Berlin, Germany, this month as the Global Young People's Convocation and Legislative Assembly brings together young United Methodists from around the world to share their life experiences, struggles, gifts and realities.
About 350 youth and young people representing 32 countries – from Angola to Zimbabwe –registered for the July 21-26 event, which is sponsored by Young People's Ministries, a division of The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church.
The delegates currently are in legislative sessions.
"This event is occurring at a crucial time in the life of our church," says the Rev. Michael Ratliff, associate general secretary of Young People's Ministries. "Young church leaders from around the globe will gather to discuss the future of our denomination. They have chosen to invest their time, energy and talent in influencing a new future for The United Methodist Church. What will transpire may have ramifications for us all."
The five-day event will include worship, Bible study and leadership development for the participants, who will come together to bridge the social, economical, religious, ethnic and political gaps and differences that often separate and divide them.
During the convocation, 144 young people and adults who are attending as voting delegates will convene a Legislative Assembly, which is designed to give young people a voice in the church through the legislative process.
Two young United Methodist leaders, from the Philippines and the United States, convened the assembly. Earlie Pasion, 24, former national president of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines, is now Publishing Coordinator of Discipleship Resources-Philippines for the Philippines Central Conference of the United Methodist Church, and attends Central United Methodist Church in Manila. Will Green, 22, a Master's of Divinity student at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, is a licensed local pastor at Granville Avenue UMC in Chicago.
United Methodist young people from throughout the world submitted legislative proposals to be discussed and debated at the Legislative Assembly. Legislation adopted by the assembly may be referred to the Young People's Ministries Division and sent directly to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2012, carrying the name "United Methodist Young People's Legislative Assembly."
Speakers at the convocation include:
- Bishop Linda Lee from the Wisconsin Annual Conference in the United States
- Rev. Sidney A. Cooper, chaplain and lecturer at Sierra Leone Theological College and Church Training Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa
- Reto Nägelin, a musician and leader of a youth service at Takano Fachstelle EMK (Evangelical Methodist Church) in Olten, Switzerland
- April Gonzaga-Mercado, a part-time graphics designer, event planner, and video editor in Manila who has been active in the youth and young adult ministries of the Philippines Annual Conference for years. (Her great-grandfather was the first Methodist convert in her hometown of Taytay, Rizal.)
- Rev. Pavel Serdyukov, a graduate the Russia United Methodist Theological Seminary and pastor of Perovo United Methodist Church in Moscow
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