Annual Conference is only a few days away. I've been getting ready by doing lots of different things; Ben and I are doing two workshops - one on the church and postmodernity and the other on emerging worship. This means preparing presentations, and making darn sure I know my stuff (which is a humbling experience in and of itself).
However, I've also been praying a lot - for the New England Conference, for its leadership, for those who will be receiving new appointments and their churches...that sort of stuff. I've also been praying about submitting my name as a floor nomination to General Conference.
When I was looking over the names of those to be elected, I noticed a few things on the laity side (bear in mind that we get six lay delegates to General, and 12 to Jurisdictional):
1) Out of the nine people running, only one is under the age of 30.
2) Out of those nine, only one is a woman.
I feel rather conflicted, though I think in some ways I'm leaning toward submitting my name. The downsides would be traveling to the pre-conference meetings; they are held in Mass., which would mean traveling from New Jersey one weekend every couple months. I also really hesitate to play the diversity card. Although I celebrate having a diverse delegation with a variety of different gifts, it really, really bothers me when before people vote, members of AC get up to make a brief speech about how we already have three white men elected, or one black woman, but no Asian men or what have you. I feel that by submitting my name, I would be the young white woman under thirty (the only one who would run, mind you).
Although I struggle with this, I do feel like I need to make sure the voice of the young people are heard. I still love this denomination, and I feel called to help lead the United Methodist Church into the future. There appears to be some good legislation being sent to General Conference this year (http://www.gbod.org/youngpeople/connected/global/leg.htm). Granted, whether or not the future of the church includes sitting around debating legislation, I don't know. But I feel like I do have something to add to the conversation as a young person. I was elected in 2004 as a delegate to Jurisdictional, so hopefully people remember my name...
So -- there you have it. If you could help me shed some prayerful light on the situation, I would greatly appreciate it...