Youth Convocation gathers at Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference

(Left to right): Ginny Brubaker, Taylor Hamilton, Robyn Clark, & Denise Harris (EPA Conference Youth Coordinator) comprised the youth delegation from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference to the NEJ Conference in Charleston, WV.

By Megan Smith (EPA) and Ashley Dubois (NEJCYM Co-Coordinator, NE)*

This year’s Youth Convocation was held July 14-16, 2012, the weekend preceding the quadrennial meeting of the Northeast Jurisdiction.

Saint Mark’s United Methodist Church in downtown Charleston graciously hosted the seven conferences present: New England, Greater New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania, Peninsula-Delaware, Upper New York, and West Virginia. Overall there were nearly 25 Youth along with 20 Young Adult and Adult leaders in attendance.

The new NEJ leadership of youth ministries:

The Rev Hannah Adair Bonner GBOD-DMYP Staff (EPA)

Ashley Dubois, NEJ CYM Co-Coordinator (NE)

The Rev. Erica Munoz NEJ CYM Co-Coordinator (GNJ)

The weekend began on Saturday evening with opening worship led by the West Virginia Conference followed by a discussion amongst the youth about the purpose and future of the Northeast Jurisdiction Council on Youth Ministry (NEJCYM.) On Sunday, worship was hosted by Simpson UMC and devotions were shared by Upper New York Conference Council on Youth Ministry co-chair, Jefferson Dedrick. Jefferson described the weekend as “a wonderful experience for all the diverse members there. Bringing together youth who genuinely care for their relationship with God to worship and conference together is an experience that should never be passed up. It is my prayer and hope that the relationships built and renewed, both with friends and Christ, will continue far into the future of both our lives and the youth ministry of NEJ.”

Photo of youth delegations to NEJ Youth Convocation, on steps of Simpson Memorial before morning services.  Most youth delegates remain as Youth Observers throughout Jurisdictional Conference.  Please keep them in your prayers.

On Sunday, the youth began a time of discussion, discernment, and prayer, as they elected a new youth representative for the Division of Ministries on Young People (DMYP) (Emily Allen, UNY), Northeast Jurisdiction Council on Youth Ministries (NEJCYM) Co-Chairs (Drew Barnhart, WPA; Danielle Ferdinand, NE), an NEJCYM Secretary (Allison Rathkamp, Pen-Del), an NEJCYM Youth Service Fund (YSF) Educator (Attayah Douglas, GNJ), and an NEJCYM Co-Coordinator (Erica Munoz, GNJ). The youth also discerned Tom Schmidt (UNY) to be submitted to the NEJ Nominations Committee for consideration as the DMYP Adult Worker with Youth.

During the Convocation we had two visitors, Rev. Dr. H. Ward Greer who spoke to us about the Multi-Ethnic Cultural Center and Secretary of the Jurisdiction, Ruth Daugherty, who spoke to us about what to expect at NEJ Conference. “The Youth Convo this year was very successful after long evenings of discerning. I believe we will have a great year in growing the youth voice and involvement,” according to new NEJCYM Co-Chair Danielle Ferdinand.

Closing worship was led by youth from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference on Monday before the commencement of NEJ Conference.

*Megan Smith will be a freshman at Eastern University in the fall and is discerning a call to ministry through EPA’s Vocational Intern Program. She is interning this summer with the Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner, Northeast Jurisdiction Staff for the Division on Ministries with Young People.  Through her internship with Hannah, she was able to assist with the NEJ Youth Convocation and preach at the closing worship planned by the EPA youth delegation.  In addition, she is assisting Hannah this week with Morning Prayer and other activities for young people during Jurisdictional Conference.

This article was published in the NEJ Daily Christian Advocate.