Event will give youth opportunity to explore call to ministry
Sep. 26, 2006
NOTE: Photographs are available with this story at http://umns.umc.org.
A UMNS Report By Vicki L. Brown*
Young people will have an opportunity this fall to explore whether they are being called to the ordained ministry.
The deadline to register for "EXPLORATION 2006" is Oct. 6. The Nov. 17-19 event in Jacksonville, Fla., will feature well-known speakers and preachers who are committed to developing young clergy for the church. Speakers will include Bishop Minerva Carcaño, episcopal leader of the church's Phoenix Area.
Bishop Carcaño and Bishop Janice Huie, president of the Council of Bishops, talked about the importance of developing young clergy during an August news conference at the 2006 International United Methodist Clergywomen's Consultation in Chicago.
"The population of the world is a young population," said Huie, who leads the church's Houston Area. "When we look at our leaders, we don't match the population. We need to be more attentive to identifying those young persons who have been called to ministry and supporting them in that calling."
Carcaño said she was excited about preaching the closing worship at EXPLORATION. She recalled that her mother worried about her choice to enter the ministry because she saw how difficult the life of a pastor could be. But she found support from her pastor and the church, she said. "My pastor would come to visit me at seminary and take me out to dinner and listen to all my struggles," the bishop said.
EXPLORATION, a three-day event for high school seniors to age 24, is designed to help young people respond to God's call to ministry and to explore their gifts for ordained ministry as a deacon or elder in the United Methodist Church, said the Rev. Meg Lassiat, director of student ministries, vocation, and enlistment at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
Other speakers will include the Rev. Telley Gadson, pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Sumter, S.C.; the Rev. Lillian Smith, director of connectional ministries in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference and former associate general secretary of the Division on Ministries with Young People; the Rev. Susan Wilhauck, associate professor of Christian formation and teaching at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington; and the Rev. Phil Amerson, president of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill.
"The event comes at a time when many in church are concerned about the small percentage of ordained clergy who are younger than 35 years old," said Lassiat, who is organizing the event. According to the Pastoral Leadership Search Effort, less than 13 percent of United Methodist clergy in the United States is under age 40, while half of the church's pastors are older than 50.
Participants pay travel expenses and a $150 registration fee, which includes two nights at the Hyatt Regency, all event meals and all EXPLORATION events. A limited number of registration scholarships are available from the board. Registration can be done online at www.gbhem.org/exploration/register.html.
*Brown is an associate editor and writer in the Office of Interpretation, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
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