Thanks to Patrick Senense and the Youth Group of Magnolia Park UMC for creating (and Christa Meland of the MN Conf. UMC for sharing) this Great Idea!

In the MN Annual Conference UMC’s newsletter (01.21.21), Meland writes:

“Last summer, after George Floyd was killed under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, Patrick Senense asked the church youth group he leads: How is it affecting you? And what can we do about it?

His 60-member congregation – Magnolia Park UMC in Burbank, CA – is mostly white. But its eight-person youth group is multi-racial and beautifully diverse. Senense suspected the youth and young adults might be struggling to process the event and the nationwide outcry that followed, and he wanted to explore with them how they might respond.

Members of the youth group decided to share their own experiences of racism and raise money for anti-racism efforts through the MN Conference’s Just Love campaign. In December, they sent a check for $674.69 to the bishop’s office earmarked for the campaign – which is supporting ministries of mercy… and ministries of racial justice… (You can donate here.)

In conjunction with their fundraising effort, Magnolia Park youth and young adults created a powerful video series in which each of them talked about how racism has impacted their lives…

The video testimonies were shared with the congregation and surrounding community, and those viewing were invited to donate to a GoFundMe page whose proceeds were distributed to the Just Love campaign and Reclaim the Block.

Read the full article, including more about their videos, why the church was the safe space these young people needed to amplify their voices, and why its important to hear the voices of our young people here.

Invite your congregation to support Magnolia Park youth and the Just Love campaign and/or be inspired by them to lend your own voices to efforts about which your young people are passionate.

Help your tweens, teens and young adults find common ground or a theme of topics: what are they passionate about? What are their most pressing concerns? Encourage them to share from their own experience, if appropriate (avoid developing a sense of inappropriate victimhood or inauthentic solidarity). Share videos in worship and study settings with your congregation, and online with your whole community. Invite viewers to support a related organization.

In We Don’t Have to Fix Everything, Rev. Dr. Cameron Trimble highlights the importance of being seen and having our story heard; in In Search of a Better Future she articulates our need for a New Story. Let your congregation be the safe space where your young people can raise their voices and in so doing, raise awareness and funding for efforts of justice and equity – which help us narrate that New Story.