Young Adults Lead Saturday Morning Worship at Annual Conference
October 9, 2022 / By Tara Barnes, Director of Denominational Relations, United Women in Faith
The final day of the 2022 gathering of the Upper New York Annual Conference opened with a moving worship led by the Conference’s Young Adult Ministries.
The time highlighted the Northeastern Jurisdiction Mission of Peace and included various Scripture readings and reflections, with music from Brendan James Fox, Zach Stahlsmith, Elliot Lawrence, and Skye Farm staff and campers.
The Mission of Peace is a yearly journey of discovery and Shalom to nations in our global community sponsored by the Northeast Jurisdictional Council on Youth Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Each year, every Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in the Northeastern Jurisdiction may select up to four youth to share in this experience.
“Mission of Peace is an opportunity to do mission differently than we normally think of,” said the Rev. Ted Anderson, previous Mission of Peace coordinator. “It's not a matter of going to build a house or put a roof on or paint a wall—it’s more an opportunity to meet people build a bridge of peace, understanding, and friendship.”
The Rev. Heather Stierheim, current Mission of Peace coordinator, called MoP a “journey of shalom.”
“It's an opportunity for youth to be in connection with other youth in a different culture, a different setting that allows them to be present with one another, to build relationships, to give witness to Jesus Christ in their lives and to build a community of faith that is larger than what we have at home.”
Mike Ludle (India 2010), the Rev. Davi Weasley (China 2001), and Sam Lasher (India 2020) each shared reflections on their MoP experiences and how it shaped them.
“I grew up in a pretty small town. I had some sense of the scale of kind of challenge and injustice in the world, and the mission of peace was a good opportunity to look at some of that head on in a way that had a frame around it so I could approach those hard questions, but in a way that didn't shy back from some of the really challenging realities about poverty in our world, and injustice in our world and racism in our world,” said the Rev. Weasley about his trip.
Marthalyn Sweet read Hebrews 10:19-25 and invited people to reflect on the question, “How can I spur people on toward love and good deeds and encourage others?”
Pastor Paul Sweet followed with Luke 5:19-25, and Job 2:11-13 read by Zach. Following the readings, attendees were encouraged to reach out to a friend who is having a hard time or to whom they have not spoken in a while.
“That we’re gathering for yet another virtual Annual Conference shows that we are committed to this connection,” Paul said. “It’s through this commitment to this connection, through the work that is done in our individual churches, that together through our annual conference and our larger United Methodist connection we may provide opportunities for lives to be touched.
“The Scripture reminds us that collective action can be powerful, that looking out for another's well-being can be transformative, and Christ can use the most absurd circumstances to warm hearts which will see a kingdom grow in ways that we cannot possibly imagine from this time or place,” he continued. “We are called to this absurd work of seeing that each other is cared for, of finding grace in the absurd places that this work takes us, and while doing so, striving to grow in the love that Christ shares with us each and every moment.”
Members of the young adult council offered a blessing to the conference, saying, “our worship has ended, and now our service begins.”
Learn more about the Conference’s young adult ministries on our website. Watch the worship video here.