--By Mollie Landman--
A group of 28 Western Pennsylvania United Methodist Youth made a pilgrimage to the Hershey area beginning July 6, to see a replica of the Tabernacle, learn about the Anabaptist faith, visit at Amish museums and attend a performance of Samson at Sight and Sound.
A smaller group of 10, then went on to the Northeastern Jurisdictional Youth Convocation from July 8-10 at the Marriott Hotel in Lancaster.
The 2016 NEJ convocation brought new life and energy to the young people of the Jurisdiction.
The mission of the Northeastern Jurisdictional Council on Youth Ministry (NEJ CYM) is to grow youth into adult disciples of Jesus Christ. The young people came together for worship and fellowship, and to learn about impoverished areas of the world through Hope International. The youth also made important decisions,including determining how the council should operate, and also elected leaders.
The youth were blessed by the wisdom and guidance of Bishop Peggy Johnson and Retired Bishop Violet Fisher who emphasized that youth are children of God and challenged them to continue their connections to each other through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They were encouraged to be inclusive to all people, knowing that God has a plan for all.
At the convocation, youth were elected to Jurisdictional Committees, NEJ CYM officers were elected and a representative to the Division of Youth Ministries was chosen.
Western Pennsylvania youth elected to four-year terms on Jurisdictional Committees include: Andrew Chung for General Board of Global Ministries, Mollie Landman for Annual Conference Boundaries, and Kiersten Kennedy for Jurisdictional Rules.
In addition, Mollie Landman was elected as the Secretary for one-year to represent Western Pennsylvania at the NEJ Council of Youth Ministries.
The convocation elected McKenna Keltz from Western Pennsylvania to serve a four-year term as NEJ representative to the Division of Youth Ministries (DMYP). With DMYP, McKenna will travel around the world to plan national youth events that involve missions and ministry.
Also, Ted Anderson was elected from Upper New York as the Mission of Peace (MOP) adult coordinator, and Heather Stierheim from Upper New York as the assistant adult coordinator.
Following convocation, LauraGrace Orner, Aaron Slavin, Kiersten Kennedy, and Mollie Landman attended the July 12-15 Jurisdictional Conference as youth observers. LauraGrace Orner and Aaron Slavin represented the annual conference as non-voting youth delegates, and Kiersten Kennedy and Mollie Landman acted as their alternates for the week.
All of the youth that experienced any or all of the trip were exposed to diverse cultures, people, and saw the love of Jesus Christ.