LOUISVILLE Fifteen members of the General Assembly’s Youth Ministries Task Force have been named by the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, Moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The task force is the sixth and final special committee to be named by Reyes-Chow upon direction by the 2008 Assembly last June in San Jose, CA.

The Assembly, upon recommendation of its Assembly Committee on Youth, directed the moderator “to appoint a task force to seek input from youth, young adults, and adults … find and present model programs, and focus on the needs and development of youth ministries and report back to the 219th General Assembly (2010) specific recommendations for designing and conducting various youth ministries under a ‘new vision’ for youth.”

In its rationale for proposing the task force, the committee wrote, “It is undeniable that investing valuable General Assembly time and energy to consider youth, a crucial generation in our faith communities, was an essential exercise and is one that merits more time, attention and resources than could be offered in the short time available at the General Assembly.”

The rationale continued, “Though the committee sought to discern God’s vision for youth and the PC(USA), this is a task that will require more time and more intensive youth involvement for its adequate completion. The Assembly Committee on Youth has begun an important dialogue that should be continued in a task force with a two-to-one youth-to-adult ratio. We became convinced that youth are best equipped to articulate the needs and possibilities for effective youth ministry and for a more comprehensive inclusion of youth in the life and mission of the church, but also that intergenerational collaboration contributes to fruitful discernment.”

Young people ages 15-21 named to the task force are: Jordan Akin (Arkansas Presbytery), Hakeem Jerome Jefferson (New Harmony Presbytery), Austin Lane (Grace Presbytery), Kristy Lauron (Stockton Presbytery), Jessie Light (Heartland Presbytery), Alex McDonald (Greater Atlanta Presbytery), Madison Munoz (St. Augustine Presbytery), Elder Clara Pauw (Mid-Kentucky Presbytery), Brittney Shook (Western Reserve Presbytery), and Elder Rachel Van Marter (Mid-Kentucky Presbytery).

Adult mentors are G. Jacob Bolton (New York City Presbytery), Elder Karen Ceaser (Pacific Presbytery), and the Reverends Rex Espiritu (Whitewater Valley Presbytery), Michelle Thomas-Bush (St. Augustine Presbytery), and Kelly Wiant-Thralls (Carlisle Presbytery).

Wiant-Thralls will serve as chairperson of the group.

Staffing the task force will be Adrian McMullen and Gina Yeager-Buckley, General Assembly Council staff associates for youth ministry in the Office of Theology Worship and Education.

The 219th General Assembly will meet in Minneapolis, July 3-10, 2010.