Black youth seek leadership roles, respect in church
11/12/2003 News media contact: Tim Tanton · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn.
This report is a sidebar to UMNS story #548.
By John W. Coleman Jr.*WASHINGTON
(UMNS) - Although the United Methodist Ebony Bishops' Summit on the
State of the Black Church drew only a few youth and about a dozen young
adults, they and the concerns of their generations took center stage in
much of the discussion.
Addressing the assembly, young
participants discussed the importance of mentoring, giving youth
leadership roles in church, and respecting their cultures and
"It's essential for youth to gain an understanding
of God, but we need to relate the Bible to our lives," said Christa
Scott, a youth member of Central United Methodist Church in Kansas City,
Kan. She told listeners that youth do not always relate well to sermons
based on adult experiences and insights. "We haven't had those
experiences," she explained. "We have to be able to teach and empower
Leon Franklin, a seminary student from Nashville,
Tenn., defended the integrity and positive influences of some rap music
and hip-hop culture, versus the stereotypes created by disapproving
middle-class, middle-aged black adults with their own negative
The Rev. Candace Lewis founded the growing,
youth-oriented New Life United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.,
six years ago.
"Starting a new church right out of seminary was
one of the best things to happen to me," she said. She recommended that
African Americans start more new churches in black communities and use
video, computer games and other popular technologies to attract younger
# # #
*Coleman is the co-director of communications for the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference.
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