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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Young People Worship reflects AC17 theme

    July 5, 2017 / By Kathleen Christiansen

    Young People Worship reflects AC17 theme

    By Kathleen Christiansen

    At the Young People Worship on June 3, various young adults emphasized the phrase, “God is enough” as well as trusting in God, which are part of the 2017 Annual Conference session’s theme: “Together in Prayer:  Trusting that God is Enough.”

    The service began with a bilingual Call to Worship, led by Ian Urriola and Julio Guity. After, Jon Standhart and Marthalyn Sweet delivered the Young Adults address. They discussed a January trip some Upper New York Conference adults took to Washington, D.C., spending two days at the General Board of Church and Society to participate in seminars on poverty.

     “ … Many of us were fortunate to participate in this year’s Do Something trip to the General Board of Church and Society to further understand poverty in our own society,” Jon said. “Poverty is not an issue that should be easily shrugged off. There are opportunities to make an impact all around you, and no impact is too small.”

    Former Conference Council on Youth Ministry co-chairs Katie Allen and Elyse Muder took the stage to give an update on CCYM for the past year. They also passed the baton to the new co-chairs — Sam Smith and Maria Schermerhorn — and prayed for the new CCYM leaders, including the leadership team: Zach Aiosa, Will Allen, Bri Joose, Katie Allen, Connor Crowell, and Rachel John.

    Elyse also took time to thank and present a plaque to the Rev. Ted Anderson, pastor at the Fairport United Methodist Church, for his 35 years of service to young adult ministries.

    Emily Lasher and Gabriella Wilson, who went on the 2017 Misson of Peace trip to Nicaragua, gave a brief presentation about their trip as the Mission of Peace offering for the 2018 trip to Cuba was taken.

    “As Christians, we are called to spread God’s unconditional love to the people we meet,” Gabriella said. “We are called to promote peace, joy, and hope in our world … The Mission of Peace changed both of our lives immensely and taught us so much about Nicaragua, God, and ourselves.”

    The sermon “Trust: God is Enough” depicted three young people sharing their struggles, followed by scripture relating to the story.

    Maya Smith shared that she received good grades in high school with minimal studying, so she figured she could take the same tact in college. She quickly found what worked in high school would not in college. She studied harder, but still not a lot, for finals. Her grades didn’t improve.

    “I was searching and wondering where the Lord was leading me and where even was He. Why did he let me think that I already knew everything? Why wasn’t he guiding me?” she said. “But the thing is, He was leading me in a very important direction. He was guiding me … He saw I was leaning on my own understanding of things, on what I thought I knew.”

    The next semester, she vowed to work harder and the results paid off.

    “Yes, I wavered and questioned when things did not go my way, but when I finally listened to the voice in my head telling me what to do, I succeeded,” Maya said. “That voice was and is God. Now I know I must always leave my trust in him.

    “So regardless of what stage you are in your life, how God works is amazing! How he puts us on the right path, and pulls us back when we wander. How when we trust in Him, when we remember he is always present and always loving, we end up succeeding,” she said. “We end up gaining so much by trusting our amazing God, by trusting that He is enough.”

    Claramar Galarza then read Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight.”

    Pastor Lynnette Cole, serving at the Schroon Lake Community Church, shared her story of how she felt so “unlovable” that she pushed people away until it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. But then she turned things around; she went to seminary and learned that it didn’t matter how much you faltered, you would always be loved.

    “It’s not about how loved we are, it’s about that we’ll be loved no matter what we do,” she said.

    Krystal Cole read Romans 8:38-39, “I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers 39 or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”

    J.J. Abrams discussed his role as the leader of the Christian Union at Sarah Lawrence College, leading weekly discussion groups on various religious topics.

    One week, he didn’t want to go. Nobody responded to his event and he didn’t “want to waste his time.” But he realized “how selfish” that sounded and went. He prayed for God to “please lead one thirsty person to this group tonight.”

    After some time, a girl walked in, and J.J. told her the message of the Gospel: that there is a God who created everything, including her, and loves her so much that He sacrificed His son so that she could have a relationship with “this perfect God.”

    J.J. said she started to cry and told him she had never heard that Gospel before.

    “And that night, that girl accepted Jesus as her savior and Lord of her life,” J.J. said. “Jesus says in John 15:16 that we did not choose him, but he chose us — and appointed us as disciples to go and to bear fruits. And if we ask for anything in Jesus' name, it will be given to us. And I realized God called me to this campus to help this one child of God know she was loved.

    “And I continue to trust God … And I trust that God will move here in Upper New York. I trust God to be with The United Methodist Church, and I trust God for the transformation of the world through love.”   

    Sam Smith read John 15:16, “You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my name, will be given to you.”

    Pastor Paul Winkelman, serving at Freeville and the Cortland: Homer Avenue UMCs lead the sermon wrap-up.

    “I am continuing to learn every day and continuing to live into the reality that God is enough,” he said. “I am continuing to place my trust in God, and in the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ … ” he said.

    Pastor Winkelman discussed 1 Peter, 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy, he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”

    He said this means we are promised through Jesus Christ the hope of glory after this earthly life is over, if we place our trust in him.

    “ … I also believe in what are called to do here and now on earth, that we are called to build a better, a more loving, a more just, and a more equitable world, through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Pastor Winkleman said.

    “May we trust that God is enough, and may we believe and live out our hope we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that God is still moving, and that together, through God, we can still do amazing things, trusting that God is enough.”

    After the closing song and benediction by Pastor Brian Lothridge, serving at the Falconer UMC, Upper New York Area Bishop Mark J. Webb asked all young people to come to the stage and hugged each of them.

    “We have been blessed,;we have been encouraged; we’ve been challenged; we have encountered God,” he said.

    TAGGED / Annual Conference 2017

    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."