This is a statement read from the floor on Wednesday during the divestment debate, in which a statement was passed but too watered down to be effective.
by Sara Ann Swenson
Hello, my name is Sara Ann Swenson, lay delegate from Minnesota. I am 23 years old, and I am here, like you, because I love this church. I also love my friends from school and around the world.
In the United States, people from my generation are missing. People between the ages of 18 and 24 make up only 5 percent of our congregations, according to statistics I recieved just yesterday from the Board of Ordained Ministry.
According to research done by the Barna Group -- some of the reasons people my age aren't here, are that we see the church as small-minded and hypocritical.
We see through you.
While many of you may see Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett-Packard as safe, good business investments -- we see the broken bodies, destroyed homes, and weeping families -- many of them fellow Christian families -- that are harmed by our investment choices.
We cannot sing "There is a Balm in Gilead" with any integrity as long as we continue to make these choices.
The petition before us has been gutted of any opportunity to set our hearts and pocketbooks straight in a constructive and meaningful way.
Let's be honest, investing in these companies is investing in war and violence.
If we can't take action, let's at least stop
Sara Ann Swenson, 23, is an M.A. Student at Iliff School of Theology. She hails from Brainerd, Minnesota and is a lay delegate at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference.