United Methodist News Service Photo by Mike DuBose
Bethany Amey addresses the United Methodist Church's Connectional Table, meeting in Nashville, TN, in May 2011. Ms. Amey represents the church's Division on Ministries with Young People.
Some of The United Methodist Church's youngest leaders announced this week that they think the denomination is moving too quickly toward a radical restructuring that will severely limit the diversity of leadership in the global church.
Instead of the radical restructuring plan called for by the Connectional Table, nembers of the executive committee of the Division on Ministries with Young People urge no changes in the church's organization at the 2012 General Conference. Their statement reads in part:
As we have had a chance to prayerfully reflect on all that is recommended, we believe further conversation is needed throughout the Church. We, too, are concerned but hopeful about the future of The United Methodist Church. However, as a Division we are worried that in our haste to make changes, we have not been able to fully engage the width and depth of our connection.
Life prevails over death, and even in the midst of decline, God creates possibilities for new life. As we seek God’s will for our future, this belief gives us opportunities to ask tough questions and seek transformation—not just of our boards and agencies but also of our churches, annual conferences, jurisdictions, central conferences, and leaders throughout the Church.
Ultimately, any changes must focus not solely on the structure but equipping the people called United Methodists for intentional, transformative relationships with one another and with God. The future of our church and its organization should include the witness and input from people of all walks of this tradition.
Change is necessary. The work that has been done, both by the Interim Operations Team and the General Agencies, is a beginning; but we believe the church needs more time to discern and dialogue before a new structure can be implemented. Rather than restructuring this year, we hope the work begun in the Call to Action will move us into a quadrennium and future of deep, Christ-centered, and Spirit-led conversation.
The statement was signed by all members of the executive table for young people's ministries: spokespeople Will Green and Earlie Pasion, along with Lauren Godwin, Dani Diehl, Cesar Cauende, Nhoris Ngoy, Evaline Asmah, Stefanie Schutz, Bethany Amey and David Cosmiano.