Young people prepare for Rocky Mountain Annual Conference Session

June 09, 2016
Rocky Mountain Conference youth and young people listen to the Rev. Megan Armstrong, Victoria Casarrubias and Doug Palmer as they talk about the 2016 General Conference.
Story and photo submitted by the Rev. Phil Rogers
Pastor of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Longs Peak UMC, Longmont, Colorado

Twenty young people representing eight congregations gathered from Wednesday afternoon, June 8, through Thursday afternoon, June 9, in preparation for the 48th Rocky Mountain Annual Conference Session. They met at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Thornton, Colorado, to learn about all that takes place during Annual Conference Session. Several speakers were invited to share their wisdom and experience around the different activities that take place each year, especially as we discuss the issues and topics that affect how we as United Methodists in the Rocky Mountain Conference conduct ministry.

The Reverend Joel Kershaw, chairperson for the Annual Conference Standing Committee on the Agenda, led the young people in a discussion of what Annual Conference Session is intended to accomplish. Joel explained why Annual Conference is important and what will take place while we meet. The Rev. Kerry McCormick, chair of the Legislative Session, and Susan De Tar, a young person from Longs Peak, guided a conversation about the different pieces of legislation that will be discussed and voted on by committees and plenary. The young people are hopefully equipped to participate fully in the conversation and to make an educated decision in committee and plenary.

Rachel Ternes is a young adult missionary with Global Mission Fellows, a two-year mission and service opportunity sponsored by the United Methodist Church. She inormed the group about a few of the service opportunities available to young people. We practiced Holy Conferencing discussions about the legislation related to the shared futures between the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone Annual Conferences. What would it look like for a combined effort? Are there positive aspects to this idea? Are there things we need to consider and approach with caution? How does this effect my church? How about my pastor?

After dinner Wednesday evening, the Rev. Megan Armstrong and Doug Palmer, clergy and lay delegates to General Conference 2016 from the Rocky Mountain Conference, highlighted a few of the major points and decisions that happened in Portland, Oregon – the good, the bad, the ugly. After their presentation, conference leaders joined us for a meet-and-greet dessert reception before the young people had a time of games and fellowship.

On Thursday morning Andy Millman, Young People's Ministry Developer and Mission and Ministry Projects Coordinator, steered a conversation around ministry to young people on the margins.

“What are we doing now?”
“What else could we be doing?”
“How can the church develop leaders from young people of color without tokenizing them?”
“How do we as young people move forward with change by shifting way from the comfortable, safe conversations with people that are exactly like us?”

We ended our time together with a conversation about Robert’s Rules of Order. What is a motion and how does one make a motion? How about an amendment? What is a point of order? A point of clarification? What is meant by a point of personal of privilege?

Our young people are quite ready to make sound decisions about the future of our United Methodist Church in the Rocky Mountain Conference. It is our prayer that all who attend the Annual Conference session will be just as ready.