#UMCGC Reflection: We need variety in voices for the next quadrenium

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For some General Conference is a family experience. Photo by Teri Tobey for the PNW Conference.

By Megan Kilpatrick
May 18, 2016 | Portland, Oregon

It seems like there are babies everywhere at GC. There actually are only a handful of small children, but it seems like everywhere I turn there’s a little kiddo. Is it obvious I miss my son? Ten days is a long time to be away from my family, and it’s been really hard to be away for so long. My family talks every night, although FaceTiming with a toddler usually means I spend most of the call talking to my son’s forehead and the ceiling, and continually being put on pause.

Megan Kilpatrick
Megan Kilpatrick

I know I’m not alone in my struggles. While there is a breastfeeding room here at GC, I can tell you from first-hand experience that traveling with a baby is hard. Other delegates have missed school. Several delegates have missed graduations from college or seminary, or rescheduled finals. I uplift and support their work and sacrifices.

This isn’t a lay vs clergy issue. We have said in our Annual Conference and in our church as a whole that we need to welcome and include a wide variety of voices. This most definitely includes LGBTQI folks. It also includes youth, young adults, and younger families. This GC is overwhelmingly old, if I may say so!

That’s why I’m so glad that GC passed legislation that will require Annual Conferences to hold district, committee, and board meetings on dates and times that accommodate the schedules of young people. Even though I’m technically no longer a young adult in our conference, this legislation supports their voices, their passion, and the sacrifices they make for their church. This is important and significant as we move forward into the next quadrennium.

Now all we need next is childcare.

Megan Kilpatrick is the mother of a very rambunctious toddler, other half to her husband, and Clinical Nurse Specialist (RN) who helps nurses reach their fullest potential. She spends most days juggling, putting out fires, and walking on tightropes, but in her spare time she likes to cook, craft, and get outside.

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