By Harry Matthew Seawright and Geneva Watford-Lawrence, 9th Episcopal
The Connectional Richard Allen Young Adult Council met October 6-8, 2017, at New Bethel AME Church in Lithonia, Georgia. Our visionary president, Martinique Mix, assembled young adults to develop strategies that further our agenda to aid the evangelistic efforts of our church while also gaining clarity of pertinent elements in the Constitution and Bylaws that prepare members of RAYAC to be game changers.
Pastors and connectional leaders led workshops and participated in panel discussions with topics ranging from perceived sexuality in the church to lay versus clergy relations. The Rev. Garland Pierce, Director of Christian Education, was in attendance and answered questions posed by millennials regarding ways to get more involved in their local church along with how to manage challenges that often arise when attempting to do so. He charged the young adults to work in unity for the common good of the church as she grows and ages.
The Rev. Conitras Houston aimed to dispel stigmas of millennials in today’s church. Using the story of David’s preparation to fight Goliath, Pastor Houston encouraged RAYAC to be authentic to self and purpose. Referencing the hit song, “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” by Sly & The Family Stone, attendees were challenged to remain visionary while never being afraid to think “outside-the-box.” This core message is a reminder to remain steadfast when faced with adversity that might distract us from the work God has empowered us to do.
The Rev. Ronald Slaughter introduced his vision for “Generation Now,” a platform for young adults to bring awareness to current information concerning young adults and their progress. RAYAC received tools to help bridge generational gaps in the coming years of our Zion that include, but are in no way limited to remaining active on all levels of the church, contributing financially to the work of the church, being present, and understanding the value of studying to show ourselves approved.
Participants divided into smaller groups for discussion and to prepare suggestions for updating the RAYAC section of the Constitution and Bylaws, as well as to implement a covenant to duplicate in their respective districts and local churches. In the current state of society, we desire to facilitate robust conversations about sexuality that reflect the divine, economic empowerment, environmental justice, and diasporic awareness.
President Mix concluded the weekend with a day of community service and workshops on health and wellness. As the group practiced art therapy prepared and presented by Ms. Mix, Connectional Lay Organization Young Adult Representative Jamesha Williams discussed the importance of mental health awareness and treatment. Donald Jenkins spoke on the significance of understanding our purpose and Geneva Watford-Lawrence gave us healthy regimens to improve our bodies from the inside out.
RAYAC encourages leaders throughout the Connection to engage their young adults through surveys, support conference participation on all levels, and visit the website for information as we work to revamp our brand and efforts going forth.