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Students will hone leadership skills at annual forum

March 29, 2006

By Vicki Brown*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Student Forum will not explode overnight, but the chairwoman of the denomination’s student movement believes the event will grow each year now that the annual gathering is not limited to conference delegations.

And letting more students explore and hone their leadership skills is a good thing, said Ana Kelsey-Powell, chairwoman of the United Methodist Student Movement steering committee.

“I think exposing people to different points of view is always good,” said Kelsey-Powell, 23.

“Student Forum is one of the places that we can disagree without being disagreeable. That’s a lesson the larger church could learn,” she added.

The steering committee plans and organizes the annual gathering, set for May 25-28 at Adrian (Mich.) College.

Although registration is now open to everyone, each annual conference must still identify three voting student delegates and six alternate student delegates to the annual Student Forum.

Kelsey-Powell said the steering committee has worked hard to make sure the workshops and speakers will offer “practical information for people’s lives.”

The theme of the conference, which is planned and organized by college students, is “True Disciples: Learning to Fish.”

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Ana Kelsey Powell

The conference will include leadership training, spiritual formation and networking. “I really like the theme this year. I like how we are putting the focus on Scripture,” she said.

About 500 student leaders, college chaplains, young adult seminarians, and campus ministers are expected to attend, up from about 350 last year.

“Students can explore their leadership skills and ability, serve people in the surrounding community, and work with peers in developing and accepting resolutions for the United Methodist Student Movement. Some of those resolutions will be sent to General Conference 2008,” said the Rev. Meg Lassiat, director of Student Ministries, Vocation and Enlistment at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, sponsor of the forum.

Student Forum is the national leadership conference of the United Methodist Student Movement and specifically connects with three phases of the board’s strategic plan: young people and the church, building a new pipeline, and forming faithful leaders for the church and the world.

To learn more or to register online, visit

*Brown is an associate editor and writer in the Office of Interpretation, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or

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