Two Selected to Deliver the Young People’s Address… | UMC YoungPeople
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March 2024

Two Selected to Deliver the Young People’s Address at General Conference in April 2024

By Chris Wilterdink

Two young people, each with something to say to the entire United Methodist Church, will represent young people from throughout the connection when they address the General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 24, 2024.

Senesie Timothy Arounah Rogers, native of Sierra Leone, the Chairman of the United Methodist West Africa Central Conference Organization on Youth and Young Adults; and Alejandra Salemi, a PhD student at Duke University – were selected from applications submitted by young people between the ages of 12-35 by an international group of representatives from the Division on Ministries with Young People at Discipleship Ministries. Click here for information about Discipleship Ministries’ presence at General Conference in 2024.

The United Methodist Young People’s Address, which is organized by Discipleship Ministries, is an opportunity for the two to witness about the church’s impact on their own lives and the lives of others. As they speak directly to thousands of people at General Conference, including Bishops, voting delegates from around the world, and many more thousands watching online, it is also a chance to reflect on all levels of the church, and how young people might interpret experiences that have played out over the past several years and beyond. Click here for information for how to watch the livestreams of General Conference, as well as plenty of other information about the gathering.

Senesie TA Rogers is a young adult of the United Methodist Sierra Leone Annual Conference within the West Africa Central Conference. Rogers is a Barrister-at-Law and Solicitor of the High Court of Sierra Leone, and he is currently attached to the Thomas Beah & Associates Chambers as a Private Practitioner. Senesie is an alumnus of the Sierra Leone Law School (Council of Legal Education) where he qualified for the Bar (Barrister-at-Law and Solicitor) BL and Fourah Bay College (University of Sierra Leone), where he attained his Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LLB), and his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature (Major), and Politics (minor) – (BA). Senesie also serves as Chairman of the United Methodist West Africa Central Conference Organization on Youth and Young Adults.

In his pursuit of justice, Senesie started by advocating against economic, social, and cultural injustices through the lens of socialism, on his academic journey he transitioned to a more conservative lens. In his LLB Project, he probed into the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and its implementation defects in Africa. Senesie stands with Dr Thomas Sowell on the notion that “There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.” He also stands with C. S. Lewis on notion that “pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” Senesie is a stickler for knowledge, and more than willing to learn.

Alejandra Salemi is a PhD student in the Population Health Sciences Department at Duke University, focusing on the intersection of public health and religion, in particular how religion is a social determinant of public health. She is a graduate of Harvard University, with a Master of Theological Studies focused on religion, ethics, and politics. She also earned a bachelor’s degree and Master of Public Health degree from the University of Florida. She served on the staff of Gator Wesley, the United Methodist campus ministry at the University of Florida and was elected as a lay delegate to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 2020.

She is the creator and CEO of Healing Theology, a non-profit devoted to bridging the gaps between the worlds of religion and health. You can check out their platform on Alejandra is a candidate for ordination in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church and is a proud immigrant to the United States from Bogotá, Colombia. She grew up attending Community Faith UMC in Davenport, Florida.

General Conference in 2024 will take place April 23-May 3, 2024, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Chris serves as Director of Young People’s Ministries for Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Chris has a BA in English Education, and an MS in Project Management, and over 15 years of local-church youth ministry experience. He is passionate about leadership and faith development in young people and helping ministry leaders understand their value in the lives of young people. A Stephen Minister, Chris is a native of Colorado living in Franklin, TN with his wife Emily, 2 children, and sausage-shaped beagle.