Young People Call for UMC Unity


MANILA, Philippines July 20, 2014/GBOD* – United Methodist young people from around the world have urged leaders of the denomination to “seek solutions that promote our global unity” and not be divided by issues such as homosexuality.

The Global Young People's Convocation & Legislative Assembly, attended by more than 300 young people and observers, including four delegates from Western PA, adopted the unity statement the night before ending its quadrennial gathering with a worship service Sunday, July 20, at Central United Methodist Church in Manila. 

Western PA representatives were young adults Polly Zilhaver and Rebekah Swineford Clapp and youth Carleen Long and LauraGrace Orner are youth representatives. 

The gathering, hosted by the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD), was disrupted by Typhoon Rammasun as delegates and observers arrived at a meeting site in Tagaytay, Philippines on July 16. No one was injured, but the entire convocation was moved to a nearby location called Island Cove close to Manila.

Below is the entire statement on unity:

     Statement of Unity from the United Methodist Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly held in Manila, Philippines:

     “There has been increasing talk of schism of the United Methodist Church in recent months. Many say that the issue of homosexuality is so contentious that it will inevitably split our Church. We, as the young people of The United Methodist Church, would like to say that we do not desire a divided Church.

     “The Church that we have taken our places in is called to a ministry that includes so much more than this one issue. There are genuine, passionate perspectives on all sides of the issue and though we disagree, we have committed ourselves to loving, faithful discussion on this subject. Part of the beauty of our Church is that there has always been room at the table for a wide range of theological diversity within our connectional church family. As Wesley said, ‘May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion?’

     “We urge everyone to seek solutions that promote our global unity as the United Methodist Church of Jesus Christ, rather than focus only on the issues that divide us, so that we may faithfully live out our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”


*GBOD’s mission is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, GBOD is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit, the Press Center at or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.