May 3, 2004
By Kim Riemland*
PITTSBURGH (UMNS) –– Technically, Ryan Bostdorf is skipping school.
Bostdorf says his presence at the General Conference will show his
church that youth want to be involved and be able to make decisions.
doing so with permission from his parents and teachers, however,
because he’s getting an education he simply couldn’t get in class.
14, Bostdorf is the youngest delegate elected to attend the top
legislative assembly of the United Methodist Church. He is one of nearly
1,000 people from around the world elected to the 2004 General
thought by me coming to General Conference it’s saying that youth want
to be involved, and want to be able to make decisions, and not just sit
back and let the adults make everything,” said Bostdorf, who is a member
of Halifax (Pa.) United Methodist Church, where his father serves as
the associate youth pastor and his mother is choir director.
delegate from Central Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference is
spending long hours in committee meetings, wrestling with the wording of
proposals and petitions that will help shape the future of the 10
million-member denomination. From homosexuality to global missions, he’s
tackling some of the toughest issues facing the world wide church.
|14 year old Ryan Bostdorf of Pennsylvania is the youngest delegate at the General Conference in Pittsburgh.
love sitting there and thinking that I have power to do things for my
church,” Bostdorf said. “I love how everyone from around the world can
come together and just be one body and unite and make the great
decisions that they’re going to.”
he’s missing his ninth-grade classes, Bostdorf said he still has plenty
of homework. After the late-night committee meetings, he starts in on
his school studies. He’s also required to write a report about his
experience at General Conference.
this is no vacation, he said he’s glad to be serving his church in this
way. When his duties as a delegate feel overwhelming, he relies on
faith and prayer to God.
know that he’s always around me and if I do have trouble, I can just
talk to him,” he said. “I’m talking to him a lot because it is
very overwhelming, but I’m getting through it.”
*Riemland is a correspondent and freelance producer for United Methodist News Service
News media contact: (412) 325-6080 during General Conference, April 27-May 7. after May 10: (615) 742-5470.