Rio Texas to Send Delegates to South Africa for Global Young People's Convention

The Rio Texas Conference will send several delegates and members of the Young Adult Ministry Council and the Youth Ministry Council to the Global Young People’s Convention in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 18-22.

The Rio Texas individuals going to the GYPC include three delegates:

  • Marlee Claes (Youth, Kyle UMC)
  • Zephyr Straus (Young Adult, Westlake UMC, Austin)
  • Tori Perales (Young Adult, Christ UMC)


“I want to make church relevant for people in my age bracket who have questions and doubts and encouraging them to ask the questions instead of discouraging exploration of self and other topics of religion and spirituality,” said Strauss. “As a 20-year-old who has gone through periods of having questions and even doubts about my faith and feeling like church was not a safe place to express those things, I would like to help equip the church to nurture youth who are in the same place as I was.”

In addition to these youth delegates, other members of the conference traveling to Johannesburg are:

  • Melissa Phillips (Youth member of Rio Texas Youth Ministry Council)
  • Rev. Kallie Green (Clergy and member of the Young Adult Ministry Council)
  • Rev. Dr. Tanya Campen (Director, IG Discipleship)
  • Rev. Abby Herrera (Young People's staff at Discipleship Ministries)
  • Rev. JD Herrera (Adult member of the Rio Texas Youth Ministry Council)
Marlee claes

Marlee claes

The purpose of the GYPC is to celebrate the mission and vitality of young people in the United Methodist Church, raise the joys and concerns of young people from the global community, develop young people as leaders for effective ministry in local churches and communities of faith, highlight emerging trends in youth and young adult ministry, provide a common forum that embraces the global reality of the church.