Abby Wimberley

Church Name: Northern Boulevard (Independence)

Share any relevant background information including leadership experience both within the church and in other areas of your life.

I have been a member of the United Methodist Church, for as long as I can remember. Having grown up as the daughter of a strong United Methodist woman, who happens to be an Ordained Elder, I have gotten to experience the church in many ways. I spent 4 years on the Missouri Conference Council for Youth Ministries and attended jurisdictional CCYM conference my senior year of high school. I have served on over 30 mission trips since the age of 12, and I have been a councilor at Wilderness for multiple camps and have worked in many of the nursery’s for different churches in our conference. I was a summer intern for Northern Boulevard UMC’s youth group for two years. I earned a Bachelor of Science in both theatre and communications, from Central Methodist University, and was Service Vice President for Alpha Phi Omega Zeta Tau, ’17- ‘18, and Fundraising and Events Coordinator for Alpha Psi Omega Zeta Psi, ‘17- ‘18.

Describe your personal practices of intentional faith development that strengthen your spiritual engagement with God and your capacity for fruitful leadership in the church.

Meditation on God’s word and the scripture, as well as studying the chapters coinciding with my daily struggles, are what help me to best develop and strengthen my relationship with God. Knowing I was put on this Earth because I was meant to do great things, in representation of the Father, helps to solidify my religious soul, and remind myself the I am courageous through God, and He made my hands and feet strong so that I could lead, love and create disciples of His word. Through my work on mission trips, I have been lucky enough to witness many people, not only growing closer to God and truly feeling his love but seeing God’s work and light take place before their very eyes.

Why do you seek election as a lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference?

I witnessed first-hand the effect that General Conference 2019 had on everyone, especially those who had entered the conference praying for acceptance and unity to lead the way, and those who left the conference praying for understanding and healing to guide their broken hearts. I saw, once again, that the younger demographic of the Church was underrepresented and not fully heard or taken seriously. After attending one of Bishop Farr’s “post General Conference” meetings and looking around the room seeing mostly people twice my age, I realized that change isn’t just going to happen within the denomination, and that I needed to roll up my sleeves and do something. Because of this, I felt the strongest call I have ever felt. I seek election as a lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference, because I would like to represent the younger voice of the Missouri Conference, who will be the future of the church. Youth and young adult delegates, in the past, have been few and far between.

How will your involvement in General Conference 2020 support the church to fulfill the mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”?

My involvement will support the mission of “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” through the representation of the younger members of the church, who are often underrepresented and not entirely heard. In order to continue to fulfill the Church’s mission, the church must be willing to change and create an acceptance, preaching that our “open minds, open hearts, and open doors” are open and welcome to ALL disciples. I truly believe that my involvement in GC20, will help to show case the strength and love faithfully given, by all of the Missouri Conference.

Since the primary focus for Jurisdictional Conference is to elect new bishops, what qualifications do you think the church needs in its future episcopal leaders?

I try my best, to lead my life faithfully with my heart. The future of the United Methodist Church, is in the hands of the young, like me; and the young will do absolutely everything we can, to ensure that the future episcopal leaders, are leaders who not only exemplify the mission of the Church we know and love, but are supportive of all future generations of the church. I believe, the newly elected episcopal leaders, must know that their duty is to guide those who need guidance, while being able to stand strong in the face of religious questionings and disagreements. The next generation of bishops needs to be a generation that understands that the future is in the hands of the young, who need guidance and will question their religion as their relationship with God strengthens. The future elected episcopal leaders, must know that the strongest way to move forward into the future, is to greet the future with open arms of love, unity and acceptance.