During General Conference 2016, we are going to feature delegate stories from our NC Conference delegates, so you can learn more about them and the committees they will be serving.
Here are the questions we asked:
- Tell us about how you came to know Jesus.
- Tell us about your committee.
- What do you feel is important for the NC Conference to know about your committee/role at GC?
- How does this affect the people in the pews?
Today, we have Ellen Beasley and Tim Reaves sharing their stories.
I have been a part of a United Methodist Church as far back as I can remember, but it was not until I began attending Conference Youth Events that I truly developed my own relationship with Jesus and came to know what it was like to have a personal relationship with Christ.
I am from a small town where there really is not much going on unless you get involved in a church. You name the event, my family was most likely there. I dreamed of the day that I reached 6th grade so I could finally start attending youth group. At the time, I thought it was just to get away from my younger siblings for a few hours every week. Little did I know where it would take me and that I would go from meeting in an old Methodist Children’s Home with my 6-10 member youth group, where the only decisions that really had to be made was what to cook for supper that week to Portland, Oregon, meeting with the United Methodist Church’s top legislative body deciding on church policy. My youth leader grew up in Conference Youth and invited me to become a member of the conference youth family and I could not be more thankful. Attending my first ACS (Annual Conference Sessions for Youth) and becoming a member of the Conference Youth family is when I began my personal relationship with Jesus.
My brother, Jake, and I are Laity reserve delegates. This means that we are “on deck” to be prepared to step in when one of the lay delegates has to step out of their duties for whatever reason. We assume the role of the lay delegate when needed. Because of this, reserve delegates do not typically have a specific committee that we serve on. Due to an unforeseen circumstance, I was able to sit in throughout all legislative committee sessions in Church and Society A, where we discussed legislation regarding the Social Principles and social concern and justice. Much of the legislation in which my subcommittee covered regarded updating statistics.
There are 864 seated delegates as the voting body of General Conference. Seven percent of these delegates are young people. Only 33 of the seated delegates from United States’ Annual Conferences are under the age of 30. Only ONE seated delegate is considered a “youth” as he is 18 years old. Beyond those who are seated delegates, there are only a handful of reserve delegates who are under 30 years old, Jake and I being two of them. I say this to thank the NC Conference for believing in the young people of the church and electing us to the General Conference delegation and for giving us young people the opportunity to share our voice with the United Methodist Church!
The global church is realizing the importance of its young members and recognizes that the absence of their presence is a loss for the church. I am so thankful to be a part of an Annual Conference that recognizes the importance of youth and young adults in the involvement of the church! I look forward to seeing the ways in which we as an annual conference seek new ways to involve youth and young adults!
The decisions made here at General Conference affect the people in the pews all around the world, which I think we too often forget. As the top legislative body of the church, we work to revise church law and adopt resolutions that reveal the church’s policy on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. The decisions made here will be set for at least the next quadrennium. There has been some legislation that has been passed regarding youth and young adults in the church that will promote more involvement in the church across the globe! I am excited to see where this legislation will take us in the next four years and beyond!
I grew up in the church, so I’ve known about Jesus since I can remember. I was baptized as a baby and nurtured in the church. It was one Sunday morning when I was around the age of 11 or 12, I was waiting outside of a young adult Sunday School class so we could get through to the junior choir room. While standing by the door of that class, I happened to actually listen to what their teacher, a senior adult named John Ed Roberts, had to say. I heard him say that we don’t gain salvation and go to Heaven based on what we do or how we behave, but that we gain salvation through having faith in Jesus Christ and accepting His forgiveness of our sins. Those words touched my heart that morning as I had literally overheard the Gospel. I went home and that night before I went to bed, I prayed and asked Jesus Christ to forgive me of all of my sins and live inside of me. I accepted His acceptance. Since then, God’s grace is continuing to remake me into God’s image as I live as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
At this General Conference, it is my honor to serve as a clergy delegate from the North Carolina Annual Conference. I am serving on the Judicial Administration committee. We have been dealing with a lot of the technical language surrounding judicial concerns, complaints, chargeable offenses, and accountability of clergy, laity and bishops. My hope is that our folks in the pews, clergy or bishops, will not have to deal with these type of issues, but that the policies and procedures are in place if needed. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to lead us through this time of holy conferencing.