Statement: Support for young delegates in Holston

Statement: Support for young delegates in Holston


May 7, 2019



We love our church. We love Holston Conference. We love God, and we love God’s children.

We love our young adult children, and we believe, through them, our denomination and Holston Conference has hope and a future. We believe God has plans that will prosper them and prosper our Church.

We are alarmed only 7 percent of total seated delegates during the 2016 and 2019 General Conference sessions were young adults, people under the age of 35. We are concerned that in our most recent Holston Conference delegation, one out of 12 seated delegates (8 percent) was under the age of 35.

Our young adults are not of one mind. They are diverse, and the fact they are still among us indicates they are dedicated and ready to work. We say we want young people in our congregations. We grieve our dwindling numbers. Imagine the message of hope and example Holston Conference will send to all when we let our young people lead!

We are acutely aware no church can survive or thrive without young people and new voices investing in its leadership.

Therefore, we the representatives of ministries and teams that relate to, depend on, and support the young adults of Holston Conference respectfully request our Annual Conference to commit to electing two delegates under the age of 35 to our 2020 General Conference delegation. We believe this is a great first step and modest proposal.

We have faith in God and faith in you. We have faith in the young people of The United Methodist Church.


Laura McLean, Assoc. Director of Connectional Ministries for Youth and Young Adults

Jim Gass, District Youth Coordinator, Smoky Mountain District

Emily Ballard, Divine Rhythm Design Team

Rev. Misti Dawn McCreary, Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry

Jacob Ducote, Young Adult Ministry Team

Rev. Matt Hall, Young Adult Ministry Team

David Schoeni, Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry

Martee Buchanan, Radford Wesley Foundation Director

Nathaniel Roark, CCYM Clinch Mountain

Rev. Asa Majors, Young Adult Ministry Team

Rev. Will Lauderback, Divine Rhythm Design Team

Joe Ratledge, Young Adult Ministry Team

Rev. Ila Schepisi, Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry

Rev. Mary K Briggs, Chaplain, Emory & Henry College

Caitlin King, Youth Minister, Munsey Memorial UMC

Rev. Sharon Wright, Assistant Chaplain, Emory & Henry College

Rev. Mary Thompson, Executive Director, Holston Camping and Retreat Ministries

Rev. Caroline Hawthorne, District Youth Coordinator, Clinch Mountain District

Hannah Yarosh, CCYM Appalachian District

Chloe Yarosh, CCYM Appalachian District

Whitney Winston, Director, Camp in the Community

Rev. Jeff Wadley, Director, Camp Bays Mountain

Rev. Jonathan Jonas, Emory & Henry Board of Trustees

Reagan Kelly, CCYM Three Rivers District

Erin Bowman, CCYM New River District

Emily Skidmore, CCYM Smoky Mountain District

Catelee Crow, CCYM Tennessee Valley District

Chloe Smith, CCYM Smoky Mountain District

Tatum Harvel, CCYM Appalachian District

Molly Haymore, CCYM Smoky Mountain District

Rev. Beth Tipton, UVa Wise Wesley Foundation Director

Amanda Onks, District Youth Coordinator, Three Rivers District

Rev. Pat Tipton, Coordinator of District Coordinators, CCYM

Rev. Sam Ward, Resurrection Design Team

Rev. Sarah Varnell, Resurrection Design Team

Rev. Sharon Bowers, UT Knoxville Wesley Foundation Director

Rev. Leah Burns, UTK Wesley Foundation Board Chair

Sam England, General Board of Church and Society member

LeRae Collins, Director of Communications, Holston Foundation

Kayla Carico, Director of Student Ministries, First UMC Oak Ridge

Rebecca Littleton, Harrison UMC

Rev. Sarah Slack, Associate Minister, First UMC Maryville

Ben Smith, Concord UMC staff member

Cassie Johnson, Youth Assembly leader

Matt Strutner, Young Adult, Church Street UMC

Dan Young, Certified Lay Minister

Marc Gamble. Church Street UMC

Rev. John Ousley, ETSU Wesley Foundation Director

Carrie Hopper, Young Adult, Beaver Ridge UMC

Corinna Sisk-Casson, Deaconess, Three Rivers District

Rev. Eric Doolittle, Chaplain, North Central College

Alicia Smith, Junior High Assembly Leader

Zach Smith, Youth Director, Bookwalter UMC

Paula Sandoval, Youth Director, St. Mark UMC

Rev. Wil Cantrell, Pastor, Concord UMC

Rev. Clair Sauer, Pastor, Wesley Memorial UMC- Chattanooga

Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor, First UMC, Bristol

Rev. Andrew Lay, Associate Pastor, Keith Memorial UMC

Rev. G. Keith Moore, Director, The Wesley Center at Chattanooga/ The United Methodist Student Center

Rev. Brenda Carroll, District Superintendent, Tennessee Valley District

Abby Mink, Young Adult, Concord UMC

Rev. David Graybeal, Pastor, Keith Memorial UMC

Alex Sprinkle, Young Adult, Pleasant View UMC

Hannah Berkley, Concord UMC staff member

Rev. Jacob Countiss, Pastor, McDonald UMC

Rev. Will Shelton, Pastor, First UMC Pulaski

Lori Hopper, Tennessee Valley District Administrative Assistant

Rev. Randall Wright, Pastor,  Emory/ St. Matthew, Kingport

Rev. Chris Brown, Pastor, Colonial Heights UMC

Rev. Amy Aycock Surmrall, Pastor, Central UMC and Noe’s Chapel UMC

Bailey Hueser, Director of Music Ministries, Bookwalter UMC

Dr. Trevor Smith, Director of Traditional Worship, First Broad Street UMC




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