Sarah Harmer saves the day

Two young adults attend Assembly for the concert and stayed for the discussion

July 28, 2011 | Young Voices
Emily Loewen | Young Voices editor

If it wasn’t for Sarah Harmer, Serena Smith and Amanda Schmidt probably wouldn’t have gone to Assembly. The two young adults from Jubilee Mennonite Church in Winnipeg had never thought about attending the annual meetings until they saw an announcement in the bulletin advertising the free concert for young adults. They thought the Assembly sounded interesting too, and next thing they knew flights were booked and they were heading to Waterloo with little idea of what they were getting into.

“I think we didn’t fully understand some of the responsibilities of it,” said Schmidt, 28, who had expected Assembly to be more about learning; she didn’t realize until the week before leaving that they would be expected to vote. The two spent hours at Perkins choosing which seminars to attend only to find out “the seminars were tiny tiny parts of the overall conference,” said Smith, 20.

That’s not to say they didn’t enjoy the experience. “It was awesome to see the bigger church, you know. How things are run, how so much thought is put into certain things and so much prayer is put into certain things,” Smith said over the phone. Schmidt felt the same way, “our minds were stimulated all the time,” she said, “we had interesting discussions.”

For Schmidt, however, the experience also raised some questions about the purpose of the business meetings instead of using Assembly as chance for churches across the country to learn about each other. “The whole connection to money and running like a business that was a little bit unappealing to me,” she said. But made sure to add, “even though some questions or thoughts that have come out of it I’m glad that I went.”

While they are happy they made the trek from Winnipeg to Waterloo, both noticed that they were two of very few young adults present. Money may be one contributing factor, “how many people can afford to take a week of time?” asked Schmidt. Different advertising might also help. Young people “need to see pictures, and they need to see like exciting information to get them interested in it,” said Smith, adding that Assembly, was “something that the old people go to always and that we don’t think about,”

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