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Four TNUMC Young People head to South Africa for Global Young People Convocation

United Methodist youth, young adults and adult workers from all over the world are gathering next week in Johannesburg, South Africa, for worship, fellowship, leadership development and conversations about young people’s hopes and dreams for the church. 

The Global Young People’s Convocation (GYPC), a collaborative effort among the church’s general agencies led by Young People’s Ministries (YPM), a unit of Discipleship Ministries. It takes place every four years and is expected to bring together more than 300 participants for the five-day event beginning July 18.

Todd Cox

Tennessee Conference Next Gen Discipleship will be well represented at this gathering. Todd Cox, a member of Cook’s UMC in Mt Juliet, a graduate of Tennessee Wesleyan University and now Director of Ministries at Allen Memorial UMC in Athens, TN, and Epiphany Fields, a member of Gordon Memorial UMC in Nashville, and a Senior Majoring in Elementary Education at Howard University in Washington, DC, will be a part of the Southeast Jurisdiction Delegation.

Epiphany Fields

Todd and Epiphany both served as members of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry in the Tennessee Conference throughout their middle and high school years. Each served as President of the council during their Senior year of high school. Additionally, both served as Next Gen Ministry Interns during their collegiate summer and winter breaks at the Tennessee Conference office.

The SEJ delegation consists of five young adults, five youth, and two adults who will represent the SEJ as voting members. In addition, there are a number of other adults, young adults, and youth from the SEJ attending as non-voting members.

“As they discern the critical issues of young people in our church and world, the 134 voting delegates and 121 nonvoting delegates will be speaking to the centrality of the Christian Gospel and Methodist Way in shaping our denomination for the future,” said Rev. Dr. Mike Ratliff, Assistant General Secretary for Discipleship Ministries.

GYPC’s Legislative Forum provides the opportunity for young people to propose legislation to the General Conference. Using a small group process, GYPC emphasizes dialogue instead of debate.

Participants at GYPC will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Methodist Church in a special banquet during the event.

“GYPC is a great opportunity for young people to share their challenges, hopes, and dreams for the church in their own settings,’ said Mighty Rasing, YPM’s Program Development Director for Central Conferences. “Through GYPC 2018, young people will be able to build relationships with other young people from other places and they have a chance to share and celebrate stories of faith and leadership.”

Also from the Tennessee Conference are Maggie Taylor and Georgia Touchton. They will be attending the Global Gathering as members of the Division on Ministries with Young People’s Global Board.

Maggie Taylor

Maggie Taylor, a member of Edgehill UMC in Nashville and now a 3rd year Divinity student at Boston University, serves as the Young Adult Chair of the global board. Maggie served as a member of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry in the Tennessee Conference throughout middle and high school and as President during her Senior year of high school.

Georgia Touchton

Georgia Touchton, a member of St. Mark’s UMC in Murfreesboro and a rising Junior at Central Magnet High School serves as a youth member from the SEJ to the global board. Georgia is a current member of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry and is an integral member of the leadership team for Warmth In Winter.

We invite and encourage you to be in prayer for these four and for the entire gathering as they discern their hopes and dreams for the United Methodist Church. Each of these young people will be sharing their experiences through blog and photos, be on the lookout for updates. 


Portions of this release utilized from a press release from Discipleship Ministries on July 10, 2018. The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit www.UMCdiscipleship.org, the Press Center at www.UMCdiscipleship.org/about/press-center or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.