A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
Youth from all over the conference to gather for Bishop’s Rally
The event Feb. 18 helps fifth- through seventh-graders build faith and make new connections.
Students in grade 5 through 7 will congregate at Christ UMC on Feb. 18 for Bishop’s Rally, a yearly event that gives participants time to interact not only with their peers from other area churches but also with Bishop Michael McKee.
“It’s important to show our youth that they’re important to the North Texas Conference in the same way as adults are,” said Rev. Emma Williams, whose work in the Center for Leadership Development focuses on faith formations. “We’re always hoping to engage people who haven’t come in the past — bringing in churches that hadn’t heard of Bishop’s Rally before and showing them the value of being involved in conference activities.”
The event’s opening session begins at 2 p.m. and will be followed by games, a service project, snacks, a closing worship with communion and remarks from Bishop McKee.
The event, which last year took place at Lovers Lane UMC and has attracted as many as 800 participants in years past, is annually the largest gathering of youth for the conference.
That designation, Bishop McKee said, is vital as he continually looks to engage with youths at events such as this.
“For me, I learn about their interests, passions and concerns,” he said. “Their questions provide a window into their world and their world view. I seek to answer their questions at the Q&A time with clarity and provide a faith perspective on their concerns.”
Williams said attendees realize early on that it’s fun to spend a few hours with people they may not know and make connections with others their age they don’t usually see.
The relationships formed at Bishop’s Rally, she said, are ones that have the potential to carry on throughout their Christian formation as youths. Leadership identification, too, is critical and can result in participation in the youth-led Conference Council on Youth Ministries.
“Over the last five years, I have witnessed CCYM and its leadership express their Christian faith with maturity and renewed commitments to making a difference in the world,” Bishop McKee said. “This is formative for their discipleship and gives me hope about the future of the Church.”