There are youth in the Dakotas are ready for a different kind of church. A church that listens to them. Members of the Dakotas Conference Council of Youth Ministry (CCYM) have been following the live stream feed of the called special session of General Conference in St. Louis, Feb. 23-26.
The Traditional Plan passed as one of the top priorities to consider. Young people across the denomination responded, during the four-day session, by developing a written statement and collecting 15,500 signatures in support of the statement. The statement was presented on the floor to the body in St. Louis on Feb. 26.
Dakotas CCYM circulated the statement and gathered several signatures. The youth across the Dakotas have been communicating via group text indicating that they are not in agreement with The Traditional Plan and the decisions that are being made. View the young people’s statement here.
“We are the face, the future of the church. Most of us do not agree with the decisions that are taking place in the church,” said Andrea Hult, who serves as president of CCYM. “We do not want to exclude anyone. A lot of people think there is no LGBTQ+ community in the Midwest. They think there are no people different than me. I go to school every day with friends who are gay. We will be the future leaders of the church, so we want to be part of the discussion. We want to do something."
Another CCYM youth texted this message to her Dakotas United Methodist friends: “I am very hurt by the decisions that are being made. As a church we should be practicing what we preach—loving our LGBTQ+ neighbor. Hearing about the discussions like — poeple gave money for votes—leaves me thinking that The United Methodist Church is going in the wrong direction. All of this is heartbreaking. The youth, the very future of the church, are not thinking the same way. It is truly insulting. We’re sending a message that churches should not. I would love to continue being in this denomination. I truly don’t think I can when people have this mindset and force it, when they know we, as the future, don’t want this. I will choose to follow God who has created everyone with perfect intention, and love them for who they are!”