Wednesday, September 3, 2014

{2014 Young People in Mission} The Speakers

This year’s speakers were chosen by the Design Team because of the initiatives they take within their ministries to advocate for social justice.
photos courtesy of Jeff Cope
Rev. R.G. Lyons is the founding pastor of Community Church Without Walls in Birmingham, Alabama, a church that was created to be for and among the impoverished in the West End of the city. “I was honored to have been the Bible study leader for Young People in Mission and excited that I was asked to speak about justice. Being attentive to justice keeps our mission work from being patronizing, it ensures that not only are we changing other people's lives but that we are open to our lives being changed as well, and most importantly, the work of justice is long-term. It is not just about building a house or serving food. It's about bringing God's kingdom on Earth as it is in heaven. It's not just about serving the poor, but about working to end poverty. Thank God for the passion for justice so many of these young people demonstrated. The future of our world and of our church is in good hands.”

Jasmine Smothers was an ideal speaker for YPIM. Her primary responsibilities in her role as Associate Director of Connectional Ministries of the North Georgia Conference are Vital Congregations, Black Church Development, Multi-Ethnic/Cultural Congregations, support and training for Cross-Cultural/Racial Appointment, and developing Young Clergy leadership. We had a wonderful morning hearing her thoughts on Relational Justice.

On Tuesday morning, we had the opportunity to listen to Olu Brown speak on the topic of Restorative Justice. Rev. Brown is the lead pastor of Impact Church in the West End of Atlanta, Georgia. "I was blessed to share and participate with young people who are passionate about reaching the world for Jesus Christ. Ministry through missions is vital and important in helping the Church remain connected to the world. The young people inspired me as they are truly involved in missions and seeking to know how to live a life of selfless service."

photos courtesy of Jeff Cope
We were thrilled to have Rev. Dr. Denise Honeycutt be our featured speaker on Wednesday morning. This incredible woman has lived a life centered around bringing justice to our broken world. Currently she is serving as the Deputy General Secretary for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Here in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, UMCOR and natural disasters are synonymous, and while we are beyond grateful for the resources and relief they bring to us, many are not aware that UMCOR provides relief for a wide variety of human needs, from poverty and malnutrition to health and sanitation. They have a fantastic model for addressing these issues regarding human justice, in that they do not simply put a band-aid over the problems, but they work towards solving them at the root to create sustainability and empower those they serve.  

Please see our post about the Imagine No Malaria offering we had after her time speaking with us on Wednesday.

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