By Allison Redmond
GREENVILLE – A common theme present throughout Annual Conference 2019 was the desire to bring in young leaders in the church. Youth, after all, represent a continued life of the church and hope for what is to come. That hope is personified in individuals such as Addie Hendrix.
Hendrix is a 15-year-old delegate from Lexington United Methodist Church, Lexington, in the Columbia District; this year was her first serving at Annual Conference.
“I’ve always really had an interest in the Methodist Church,” Hendrix said. “I’ve really loved learning how (the church) works.”
This interest led her to get in contact with leadership in her local church, which was her first step toward becoming a youth delegate at Annual Conference.
Hendrix said she was guided to become a delegate by her love for God and her desire to be a voice for others her age.
“You don’t really realize you have a voice until you use it,” she said. “And then you really get to make an impact on something, or at least put a new idea out there.”
Hendrix’s youth pastor at Lexington UMC, the Rev. Elizabeth Murray, had the opportunity to walk with Hendrix through her first conference.
“Addie is very mature, so I have not had any anxiety about what she would experience,” Murray said. “She is very involved at our church so she knows the ins-and-outs of our local church, so now (we’re) just exposing her to the greater Methodist Church.”
Murray said seeing such a young individual so involved in the church represents that God is at work in the UMC.
“It gives me hope for the future of The United Methodist Church, knowing that God is still working within our denomination and that God is going to bring a new generation of leaders,” Murray said.
Hendrix said being at Annual Conference was a blast, and that the others present were some of the most welcoming people she has ever met.
“It’s been a really educational experience learning why and how and what we do, and who we are as Methodists,” Hendrix said.
In stepping up as a young leader, Hendrix said she has a few hopes for the future of the church.
“I hope there will be a new connotation to the Methodist name in the future,” Hendrix said. “I hope that through new people showing up, and through the people that are still here working together, (there will be) new ideas on how we can all love each other and love God.”