Young adults express frustration, hurt over exclusion at gathering

Translate Page

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
Social Concerns
Bridget Cabrera. Photo courtesy of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA).

Political categories don’t capture work ahead

The United Methodist Church risks the same errors of the past if it keeps dividing itself into different factions, writes the head of the Methodist Federation for Social Action.
Social Concerns
Lonnie D. Brooks Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Centrist-progressive coalition could soon unravel

United Methodist centrists and progressives have made common cause in working for the inclusion of LGBTQ people in church life, but a veteran General Conference delegate thinks the coalition could be short-lived.
Human Sexuality
Supporters of LGBTQ rights in The United Methodist Church rally around the central Communion table at the close of the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. An updated edition of “American Methodism,” a history of the denomination published by Abingdon Press, adds a chapter covering 20 years of contentious debate over sexuality. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Eventful 20 years added to Methodist history

Abingdon Press has published a revised edition of “American Methodism,” its history of The United Methodist Church and its predecessors. The new version adds a chapter covering 20 years of contentious debate over sexuality.