United Methodist Seminar Prompts Youth to Action
▲ Virginia Conference youth visit the United Methodist Seminar Program on National and International Affairs in New York City. Photo courtesy of the Seminar Program.
by JENNIFER MCCALLUM*
Last week Virginia Conference youth addressing global poverty and hunger were spurred to action at the United Methodist Seminar Program on National and International Affairs in New York City.
Sixteen youth and 10 adults attended the seminar designed by staff of the seminar program, and held at United Methodist Women-owned Church Center for the United Nations. Participants explored complex systems that make and keep people poor, the vast consequences of poverty and hunger, and what actions they can take to change it. Over the course of the seminar, youth had the opportunity to meet with speakers from nongovernmental organizations, take part in interactive and educational exercises, explore connections to faith through devotions, and take field trips to meet individuals working everyday to end poverty and hunger.
▲ Virginia Conference youth visit Brooklyn Rescue Mission in New York City. Photo courtesy of the Seminar Program.
Oct. 16, World Food Day, youth attended the grand opening of Mercy Corps’ New York Action Center to End World Hunger. The center provides a multimedia interactive space for young people to learn about the causes of hunger and steps they can take to end it. State, city and neighborhood politicians spoke at the grand opening ceremony outside the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City. Following the ribbon cutting participants entered the Action Center and through interactive exhibits learned about actions they could take to end hunger if they had just one minute, one hour, one day or one lifetime.
Seminar participants also took action by partnering with peer trainers from Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s Youth Channel to create public service announcements. The youth created, wrote, filmed and acted in two public service announcements to inform their peers about hunger and encourage action. Virginia Conference plans to use one of the public service announcements during a large youth event in the spring to encourage young people to participate in the Stand Up Campaign, a movement to hold governments accountable for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
These are some of the actions youth plan to take following the seminar:
“Talk to my youth group.”
“Participate in the Stand Up Campaign.”
“Tell others what I have learned and encourage them.”
“Plan a coat drive and give sandwiches to the poor.”
If you are interested in working with the United Methodist Seminar Program on National and International Affairs to plan a seminar for your youth group, campus ministry, or United Methodist Women unit or conference group contact Jay Godfrey, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jennifer McCallum, email@example.com. Phone: 212-682-3633.
*Jennifer McCallum is a seminar designer with the United Methodist Seminar Program on National and International Affairs of the Women’s Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. Ms. McCallum’s home conference is Virginia Conference.
Date posted: Oct. 23, 2008