Veritas 2020 Explores “United” Theme

Veritas 2020 Explores “United” Theme

By Mike Meeks

Featured Contributor

Veritas 2020 will be held on Feb. 28 through March 1 in Rogers, Arkansas at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center.

Veritas is a unique experience that is put on by the Arkansas Conference Council on Youth Ministry which gathers more than 1,400 youth and their leaders in one place at one time to create a single body.

This event started in the late ‘80s in the old North Arkansas Conference with the vision and dream that it would be an event where churches could come together and share in their common beliefs, their common understanding, and their common struggles for the young people that they were called to serve.

This year‘s theme is called United. The task force came up with this name because, in lieu of what is going on within our denomination as a whole, they remain focused on still being united and coming together to share in our common beliefs, our common understandings, and our common struggles.

In 2003, our state was divided into two conferences: the North Arkansas Conference and the Little Rock Conference. There was talk in a proposal to unify the state to be a single conference but that idea was not shared by 100% of the state. At that point, there were two CCYM groups that were meeting at JYMO at Mount Sequoia that year and made a bold statement that, no matter what the conference decided to do, from that point on youth ministry in Arkansas would operate with one unified body; no more North and Little Rock. Just us.

Youth representatives from both conferences spoke at the annual conference that year and encouraged adults to follow suit. We were better together than we were divided. Being united meant that we could do more and reach more with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The vote passed and from that point on we became united as one conference here in the state of Arkansas.

After that, we saw tremendous growth and revival in the youth events each and every year with Veritas being the most effective. What started out as a handful of small churches with a dream to do big things was now an opportunity to come together and rejoice in the idea that no matter what the world throws at us, even if it’s in our own backyard, we will still be united.

A Month Full of Youth Events

This month, youth groups from across the Conference at home and abroad for amazing weeks full of fun, worship and growing in faith. Youth 2019 was July 10 – 14 in Kansas City, Missouri and the theme this year was Love Well. Groups of teens from the Central District gathered together for this annual UMC youth event. Junior and Senior High Assembly took place July 22- 24 and July 24 – 27. Pictures from both events can be found below and on the ACCYM Facebook Page.

Youth 2019: Love Well

Conway FUMC

Jacksonville FUMC

Kinsey Boone, Lydia Schallenberg and Phoebe Sanders voting on SCJC youth observers

Phoebe Sanders, elected as a 2020 SCJC youth observer

ACCYM Junior and Senior High Assembly

Danny Shivers, Junior High Assembly Speaker

Junior High Assembly Game Time

Junior High Assembly Games

Mark Davies, Senior High Assembly Speaker

Senior High Assembly Worship

Senior High Assembly Worship

Whitlee Casey, Worship Leader

Completely TransformedVeritas 360 brings 1,400 youth to Rogers, Arkansas

Completely Transformed
Veritas 360 brings 1,400 youth to Rogers, Arkansas

The theme for this year’s Veritas was 360: Completely Transformed. The weekend focused on not only how we could completely transform our lives to be more God-centered but also the people and environment around us.

The speaker, Tim Palmer, did an amazing job at relating to us. He not only tried to help us develop ways to have a more God-centered view on the world and ourselves, but he also gave some of his personal stories and experiences about how his view has been completely transformed, or when he witnessed someone with a God-centered life.

With the special General Conference so close to Veritas, all 1,400 of us stood in that ballroom and prayed together. We prayed that no matter what decision was made, we would continue to lead with love and openness toward anyone and everyone because that is the Methodist church in which we all grew up. We were all completely transformed in that moment of affirmation to ourselves and everyone else in that room.

I can honestly say that this was one of the best Veritas events I have ever attended. I can’t even give a specific reason why. It was the atmosphere and the people there. It was the worship and hearing all 1,400 voices become one as we sang with the band. It was the connection that we all had together because of other events. It wasn’t just one thing; it was so many little things that we couldn’t pinpoint just one.

Probably my favorite part of Veritas was at the last worship right after communion, Bishop Gary Mueller asked all of the youth who felt a call to ministry to go up to the front, and there were so many that walked up there. It was just a really cool moment as we stood there all supporting each other. Even if we had never met before, we were all at that specific place in our lives, trying to discern a call into ministry. Everyone that went up there had their arms wrapped around each other as we sang one last song, then Bishop Mueller prayed over those people with the rest of the convention center.

It was something new, but for me, it was one of the most memorable parts of Veritas.

– By Shelby Kirk
ACCYM Youth, Greenbrier First UMC

Tim Palmer, speaker at Veritas 360.

For All Seasons led worship during the Veritas weekend.

Bishop Gary Mueller serves communion at Veritas 360.

John Mark Mathis, president of ACCYM, leads a prayer before communion on the last day of Veritas.

Youth participate in yoga during a breakout session at Veritas.

All photos taken by ACCYM Media Taskforce.

ACCYM holds discussion forum on General Conference 2019

ACCYM holds discussion forum on General Conference 2019

At a recent ACCYM meeting, Arkansas Conference youth and young adults took a vote on the plans proposed by the Commission on a Way Forward, as well as the two additional plans; The Simple Plan and the Modified Traditional Plan.

The ACCYM Youth voted after a presentation by Karon Mann on the five plans that will be discussed at General Conference in St. Louis this February. They decided to use a similar process to the one used for the Global Young People’s Convocation (GYPC). They voted for the plan they felt best represented themselves, and the results are listed below.

  • One Church Plan: 26 votes
  • Connectional Conference Plan: 5 votes
  • Traditional Plan: 1 vote
  • Simple Plan: 1 vote
  • Modified Traditional Plan: 0 votes

Current ACCYM President John Mark Mathis was present at the vote and wished to share his thoughts on General Conference and his hope for the future United Methodist Church.

A letter from Mathis is featured below.

As a current senior, my life is about to change forever as I go out and explore what adulthood has in store for me. One thing that has been consistent is the time I spend in church, and specifically, the Methodist Church.

The Way Forward and the current decision is a scary thing. Not only does this affect the church’s current generation, but it will also impact the younger generation and generations after.

As a youth, I love to learn more, and I have been able to learn more about The Way Forward and all the plans in place. We have talked about it in our local youth group, but I learned most of my current knowledge at our ACCYM meeting when Karon Mann spoke to youth and adults alike and gave us a deeper understanding on the plans for the upcoming General Conference.

Karon gave us a more precise explanation of the plans and was able to answer any questions my peers or I had. It was an excellent opportunity to dig in.

No matter what happens, I believe that God will still move so powerfully in the United Methodist Church, as well as the world.

– John Mark Mathis
Greenbrier FUMC, ACCYM President