By Anna Schlieckert
My time at the 2023 Annual Conference session was fantastic. Not only did it deepen my understanding of the conference, but it also deepened my understanding of God. I attended the conference for two full days, and I attended the plenary session on Thursday night. During these days, I attended all plenary sessions as well as taking part in the YPM’s youth day by singing in the choir and speaking about respectful urgency.
One thing that particularly stuck out to me, even from the beginning, was Bishop Weaver’s Bible study and sermon on Friday morning. Because I was only at the conference for about half the time of its full duration, I only got to hear one of his Bible studies, but the one that I did hear was very moving. In the Bible study, he talked about how faith and the church can be cornerstones of a person’s life and how even after horrible tragedies having a place in the church can help them to find their new way in this world and it helps them to understand that even when things look awful and hopeless that God’s love will prevail.
I also heard him give his sermon at the ordination service. It was especially cool to see his father’s ordination certificate and how it differs yet remains the same as the certificate we have now. Every time I heard him speak, I truly felt like I was filled with the Holy Spirit.
I’d also like to focus on YPM’s youth day. I was able to meet and work with many incredible people and youth while working on this event, and not only would I like to thank them, but I’d also like to point out that the future of the conference is in good and capable hands. These people, the youth especially, worked so hard to make it happen and, through all the stress and tension that comes with AC, they were able to stay positive and caring through it all.
I must confess that at first, I thought that because I was younger, I was going to be left out of the activities and the friendship that they would partake in. I was so happy when they wholeheartedly accepted me into their group. I was able to laugh alongside them, and I never felt like I was an outsider. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard as I did with them. Even as I was nervous to speak in front of all the hundreds of people watching the youth day, they were with me, and they supported me, even though they had only met me the day before. This gives me great hope for the future of the Baltimore-Washington Conference and the people who will carry the flame for years to come.
I relish my time spent at AC and with all the amazing people who were there. Even though I was tired for some of it and overtired for more of it, I don’t think I will ever forget the experience. I hope and look forward to many more conferences like this one.