16 August 2019
Jasmine Yeboah, 24, will remember her year of being the Youth President of the Methodist Church as a time when she learned about her relationship with herself almost as much as her relationship with God.
Jasmine lives on the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham, North London, a place with a challenging reputation but a community that has helped Jasmine to define her faith. “John Wesley described the world as being his parish and I think of Broadwater Farm as being my parish,” says Jasmine. “I talk to the people who work on the estate, the people in the laundrette, I see it as a place full of missional opportunity.”
Each year the young people of the Methodist Church elect one of their own to represent them, not just to be a figurehead for the young people but to be their voice within the Methodist Church and beyond, shaping Church policies and ensuring that the issues of concern to young Methodists are heard and acted upon.
During the last 12-month’s Jasmine has travelled overseas and in the UK. She has been promoting her theme of being ‘courageous’ and promoting the young people’s manifestos, a list of topics and concerns raised each year for churches to discuss and action.
“I started my term travelling to Rwanda. It changed my life,” says Jasmine. “Seeing the people learning not just to forgive, but to love courageously. Listening to the testimony after the genocide that killed nearly a million people had a big impact on me. Closer to home, I visited children with terminal illnesses and saw their courage , I visited homeless projects where young people were living out their faith and being courageous to create change.
“I hear adults and young people who want to be courageous and have discovered the power to do what God wants them to do. Even if that is just to say ‘hi’ to someone or get up and play a bigger role in their church by preaching. There is nothing too big or too small. The Bible tells us to be ‘doers’ of the word.
“Some people want me to be quieter but God made me a loud person. I want other young people to be themselves, be the person God wants them to be. Sure, you change as you mature but it should be how God wants you to mature.
“Representing the young people, I know they want to see love and fairness. They may have different opinions on some things, such as the marriage debate, but they want people to come together. They want us to look after our environment and to look after those who are outcasts in our society, those who don’t have enough to eat, they want to stop knife and gun crime. Part of my role has been to ensure that the Church listens to these opinions and acts upon them. Young people are not the Church of tomorrow, they are Church now.”
“Now my year is over, I am going to be doing my PGCE. I was unable to take the course when I stood for Youth President. Maybe I wasn’t ready then. I want to become a primary school teacher but my dream is to work somewhere in the world where I can use my skills to really serve and to help those less fortunate than me.
“I want to thank the young people for giving me this opportunity. As much as being able to help and serve, I have learned so much about myself, I was just an average person in Tottenham on the Broadwater Farm Estate who loved to work with young people. Now those things that once disqualified me, God has now used to qualify me in my faith and in life.”
Thelma Commey is to be the next Youth President, having been elected at last year’s 3Generate, the annual Methodist Children and Youth Assembly. She will be welcomed at a service that will take place at Christ the Cornerstone Church in her home town of Milton Keynes on Sunday 1 September. Jasmine advises Thelma to keep God first. “Remember why God placed you here and bring your unique abilities to the role.”
The Youth President for 2020/2021 will be voted for at this year’s 3Generate, the Methodist Children and Youth Assembly, taking place in Southport this November.