Young adults express frustration, hurt over exclusion at gathering

TAMPA, Fla. — The Rev. Stephanie Gottschalk had a message for General Conference delegates: I love you, but I feel betrayed.

Gottschalk, 31, is a first-time delegate from the Western Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference to the 2012 General Conference. She said she came to the top lawmaking gathering to “hear other voices and share my own … to be in holy conferencing and grow together through that.”

Although inspired by the dreams and visions for the future of The United Methodist Church that were shared throughout the conference, she said the gathering “opened my eyes to a painful reality — the pain of coming to the table with a heart open to listening and finding closed-door meetings, manipulation of the process and systematic prejudice against those of color and those of gender and those of different ages, whether young or old.”

Throughout the 11-day assembly April 24-May 4, young adult delegates urged greater inclusion of young people in the decision-making of the church. Many expressed feeling their voices were ignored.

Just before Gottschalk spoke, delegates rejected a motion to increase the number of youth and young adults represented on the denomination’s general agencies and boards in the new church structure delegates approved May 2 called Plan UMC.

During Gottschalk’s moment of privilege before the body, young adult delegates and guests lined the perimeter of the bar in silent protest.


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Annual Conferences
The Rev. Jack Jackson. Photo courtesy of the author.

Florida Conference board caused the harm

Yes, harm resulted from a recent vote by the Florida Conference clergy conference, but the blame belongs with the conference’s board of ordained ministry.
Annual Conferences
The Rev. Paul W. Chilcote. Photo courtesy of the author.

Apply Wesleyan lens to clergy-session controversy

This is not the time for accusations or recriminations regarding the Florida Conference clergy session’s June 9 vote not to approve 16 candidates for provisional membership.
Bishops
Dr. David W. Scott. Photo © Hector Amador.

United Methodist bishops in global perspective

The lack of regional decision-making authority in the U.S. United Methodist conferences caused the recent dilemma over not being able to hold episcopal elections.