Day 2: Learning


Tonight I write sort of late. I got back from the first plenary session and some of the delegation was going out for some connected fellowship time I decided to join them. When we returned to the houses it was already midnight. The fellowship time gave me a chance to reflect a little as I shared my day’s experiences with those around me. For me there was a great deal of learning that happened. Between briefings, orientations, and getting connected with people from around the country and world.

The first thing I attended was the general briefing for those attending conference. There were four speakers that gave insightful points to remember as we try and have a great time of “holy conferencing” with one another. One of the things that I have to remember is when I am addressing a group for any reason I have to speak slowly because everything I say is being translated in real time. This year at General Conference forty one percent (41%) of all the voting delegates are from outside of the United States. This was something I was not aware of, I knew that the United Methodist Church had conferences around the world, what I did not know was just how many of our members were from other places.

Today I also learned that there is a very strong youth and young adult group attending this large event this year. In the past there were very few of the younger people being a part of the larger and global church. This year, as I have been told the number of youth is far greater than any other meeting of General Conference. I still look around and see that there are many seasoned people in the crowd, but hearing this is encouraging.

Another thing that I learned today is that in spite of our differences the youth get along with each other better than the older, more set-in-their-ways, type people. In conversation at dinner I learned that there could be many reasons for that. It could be as simple as we are tired of watching the more seasoned people fight. It could also have to do with a change in the theological thinking. It may be that younger people are just more open than others tend to be. Personally I feel like it is some combination of all of that. I have also learned something about myself. I have a pet-peeve about how younger people are sometimes seen. Have you ever heard the saying “Young people are the church of the future”? Well though this may be true, the truth is we are the church of TODAY! I have been involved in the church sense I was seven, and part of the Annual Conference level for the last four years. I have taken leadership roles and stands about things I believe in right on the conference floor. The young people have a voice and we need to be heard. We are the church of today, please consider that when you think of the things you hear young people in the church and everywhere say.

Today my experiences were all about learning. Learning that there was a young people’s lounge that provided all the support that we could need as both young people and as first time delegates to GC, Learning about how to connect with the people from all places, learning the ins and outs of legislative committees, and last but not least learning that it is absolutely necessary to keep hydrated and well rested.

With that I would like to bid you all a good night. I have a busy day tomorrow and cannot wait to get it started.

Vincent Myers
Vincent Myers is a delegate to the 2012 Western Jurisdictional Conference and is attending General Conference as an additional reserve delegate and observer. Vincent is a student at Chemeketa Community College and lives in Salem, Oregon.