We are living in an age where “matters” is the end word for a multitude of phrases: Life matters; Family matters; Performance matters; Money matters; Your vote matters; Education matters. The list could go on and on. However, two more prominent phrases that comes to mind are Black Lives matter and My Voice Matters.
The Office of Regional Conference Ministry (ORCM) is governed by the Regional Conference Presidents Council which is made up of the nine Regional Presidents, the Vice Presidents for Regional Ministries for the Pacific and North Pacific Unions and the Executive Director of the ORCM.
Another decision making entity for the ORCM is the Regional Caucus. Four times a a year the Regional Conference Officers meet. Twice a year they, convene with breakout meetings held by the Presidents, Executive Secretaries, Treasurers (VP’s of Finance), Ministerial Directors, and the Hispanic Coordinators for each Regional Conference. Additionally, each Regional Conference has a Pastoral Representative. Those Pastors form what is called the Pastor’s Caucus. The spouses of the various administrators meet in what is called the Administrative Spouses Caucus. Additionally, the President of the Bermuda Conference is invited, as well as any African-American who is serving in an administrative position.
Each caucus meets separately to address ministry issues that are specific to their group and then makes recommendations for issues to be addressed by the entire group. It then becomes the responsibility of the Office for Regional Conference Ministry to follow up and to implement what is voted by the group.
This past summer, the Caucus met in Orlando, Florida. During the Treasurers’ Caucus, the ORCM Executive Director, Elder Dana C. Edmond, had his regular meeting with the Conference Treasurers. A part of their discussion was how to involve millennials in the operation of our church. Two ideas were presented to the full body. Those ideas were merged into the concept of developing a Millennial Caucus. The idea is to provide Millennials an opportunity to have direct access and input into the plans and agenda of the Regional Conference leadership.
The Regional Conference Presidents asked for a written proposal that would outline how the Millennial Caucus would operate. Elder Edmond tasked Jermaine Jackson, Vice President for Finance for the Allegheny West Conference and a Millennial to develop the proposal. The goal is for the Millennial Caucus to be a part of the next Regional Caucus Meeting in July, 2019, in Louisville, Ky.
We had an opportunity to talk with Vice President Jackson to get some insight on the formation, purpose and goals of this important and new caucus. One major thread that came from this interview was, “Millennials Matter”. Their presence matters, their ideas matter and their voice matters.
Though long overdue, Vice President Jackson stated that including millennials in the Regional Conference Caucus will open up understanding and allow an opportunity for voices to be heard. “We need to bring individuals to the table to represent a voice that is not always understood or heard”, states Vice President Jackson. Millennial voices matter.
According to Vice President Jackson, the Millennial Caucus’ voice will be diversely represented by 3 administrators, 1 millennial representative from each area, and 3 individual millennial invitees. Millennial presence matters.
Considering social media is the main platform for expressing their ideas and concerns, when asked the question, “What do you want to see happen as a result of this Millennial Caucus becoming a regular part of the Regional Caucus?” Vice President Jackson responded, this would give the millennial representation of our church a platform to “develop an agenda, explore ideas, participate on an actual committee to discuss relevant issues pertinent to our times (church, social issues, etc.) and then give this information to the caucus at large to be discussed, voted and acted upon. Millennial participation and ideas matter.
The interview concluded with the expressed desire that this coming together of the Office of Regional Conference Ministry and the newly developed Millennial Caucus will “bridge ideas and concepts [that will] be a representation of the larger group. Bridging with Millennials matter.
It was clear in talking with Vice President Jackson that he was focused on the development of this caucus. We look forward to the 2019 Regional Caucus Meeting and the representation from the Millennial Caucus.
Submitted by Jill Edmond