Treat young people with respect

In a recent General Conference supplement to The United Methodist Reporter three General Conference delegates were highlighted (“GC 2012 delegates already burning the midnight oil”). The first sentences, describing each of the three delegates, provides an interesting commentary on one of the challenges facing the United Methodist Church.

The initial delegate described has a first-sentence description that reads like this: “At 20, Ricky Harrison looks as if he ought to be parking cars at General Conference, not attending committee meetings and casting votes.”

Is it any wonder that young people often feel like less than fully respected, valued members of the United Methodist Church when we describe their attendance at General Conference as an anomaly rather than as the norm? Perhaps if our initial reaction to their attendance was welcome and inclusion rather than thinking them better suited to the parking garage, we would be better graced with the energy, creativity and vitality that young people in our denomination could bring.

Eric Guy
Leadership Development Minister for Young Adult and Generational Ministry
Iowa Conference

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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