By Parker Kitts
Parker Kitts, a member at Harriman United Methodist Church, was one of 330 young adults who went to Johannesburg, South Africa, for the fourth Global Young People’s Convocation. Delegates from 40 countries in four regions of the world came together July 18-22 for the leadership development event organized by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries.
August 7, 2018
My time at the Global Young People's Convocation is an experience I will never forget. I was given the opportunity to represent not only the Holston Annual Conference but the entire Southeastern Jurisdiction.
The SEJ delegation was created with members from multiple conferences and states including North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, and Kentucky. Shortly after arriving in Johannesburg, I was quickly overwhelmed by the gravity of the gathering: The occasion of a city uniting young people from across the United Methodist Church to discuss topics that fueled our passions. Also during our time together, we had the time to worship our one God in the variety of languages represented.
The goal of this gathering was not to change the face of the United Methodist Church but to celebrate the unity of our global denomination. The theme for the convocation was simple yet powerful: “United We Go.” This phrase was exhibited in multiple forms throughout our time together in Johannesburg. Speakers preached on what it meant to go out into this world as a unified church, praise teams and choirs sang of our global connection, and delegates showed what it meant to live like Jesus.
Many times, during the convocation Legislative Forum, we showed our strong passions and beliefs even if they might clash with others in the room. However, at the end of every session, we were always able to have a meal together. We were able to go out into the hallway and laugh with our new friends. Moments like these are what I remember as the most impactful. We, as young people, had the opportunity to show just how the church can be: a body full of love and compassion for one another.
Bishops Joaquina F. Nhanala, leader of the Mozambique Episcopal Area, and Bishop John K. Yambusu, leader of the Sierrea Leone Episcopal Area, reminded us multiple times of an African psalm: “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.” We needed this gentle reminder throughout the course of our time together. Even through our disagreements and divisions, we are all children of God going out to make disciples of Jesus Christ in all corners of the earth.
The young people of The United Methodist Church are standing as one, and we ask that you stand with us.
Young people from 40 countries gather at convocation (UMNS, 7.23.18)