When most pastors mention going off to annual conference, congregational members may often think that it is a vacation. Well, I am here to tell you that it is not – it is an important week of business and decisions that are made on behalf of the church. Often times it can be stressful, and most of the time it is Spirit filled. I ask in this moment that we all be in prayer for our clergy, lay members, Bishop, and all who are participating in some way in this years Annual Conference.
Clergy members begin annual conference one day before the laity. This year the clergy session consist of a few important things I’d like to fill you in on:
1- The election of provisional members (and it was awesome to hear a resounding yes and the journey continues toward commissioning on Friday morning).
2- The election of full connection members for ordination.
3- The election of clergy General Conference delegates.
#3 is a biggie this year – something that happens only every 4 years. In our connectional system of the United Methodist Church, the worldwide church gathers every 4 years at the General Conference which is held around the world (but really has always been in the US for now). I invite you to take a look at our Constitutional Structure for more information.
The election of clergy delegates has not been completed, and will take more time tomorrow. Beginning at 10am we have held 9 votes in order to elect 10 eligible clergy … and at our evening recess at 5:30pm we are still needing to elect 2 more clergy to fill the slots.
The whole point of writing this is to say that:
1- yes, there are clergy who come to take vacation
2- for the majority, this annual conference is an important gathering of clergy and laity to make decisions, to be in dialogue, and feel the Holy Spirit move amongst us, guiding us to be the church we have been called to be!
May we continue to seek God’s guidance, and we covet your prayers!