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To the Saints who are in Los Osos,
It is the time of year for Annual Conference reports. The most important part of the conference lay in the Bishop’s ‘vision casting.’ I’ve included the beginning of the official summary from the AC website here.
“Songs of praise and celebration ushered in the Spirit of God and enlivened the hearts of some 1,200 United Methodists gathered at the University of Redlands (Redlands, CA) for the 33rd Annual Session of the California-Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church.
The theme was “From Here to There,” (#heretothere) based on Matthew 10:5-11, with the purpose of providing an opportunity for the Conference to reflect upon who we were as well as to respond to the challenge to become different than what we might currently be.
This was Resident Bishop Grant J. Hagiya’s first Conference Session since returning to the California-Pacific Conference as an Episcopal Leader…. Bishop Hagiya did not wait long to guide the “body” into a new format of conferencing this year which emphasized learning and reflection on ministry leadership through “Messaging Moments,” of TED-like talks.
Each moment hosted speakers and shared media that were oriented around the “four priorities of transformation” of: Transforming Vital Congregations, Transforming Christian Leaders, Transforming Lives, and Transforming the World. Moreover, it was clearly articulated that the presumption of the “four priorities” was that the Conference exists to resource the local churches for growth and that the local churches will be tangibly expected to grow in number.”
We will all be looking forward to see what forms the conference resourcing takes to help us meet the Bishop’s challenge.
Most of the normal business of the Annual Conference passed easily and with little controversy – this included seven recommendations for action, seventeen resolutions and three changes to our conference rules. This included three resolutions that were signed by both myself and Rich Bolin calling upon our Conference and Jurisdiction to ensure the protection of LGBT rights within the church in various ways. This year we also voted on the five amendments to the United Methodist Constitution proposed by the 2016 General Conference. All of the other Annual Conferences throughout the world are voting on these amendments. The totals will be tallied across the denomination. The Constitution will be amended only if an amendment is approved by 2/3 of all the voting members throughout the denomination. While the votes are not reported, our Annual Conference seemed clearly to favor some of the amendments but to be generally against the others.
The bishop baptized one clergy baby. We said farewell to 19 clergy and 19 clergy spouses – and two bishops and four bishop’s spouses in the Memorial service. We honored the 372 1/2 years of combined ministry as we celebrated the retirement of 13 pastors. We rejoiced to welcome into new avenues of ministry 12 persons Commissioned on the Elder track, 2 persons Commissioned on the Deacon track, 2 who were ordained as Elders and 2 as Deacons. We also celebrated the consecration of the Rev. Andrew Lee and his wife as missionaries to Cambodia. (Andrew followed me at Parker UMC in Kaneohe when I returned to the Mainland in 2015). As always, Annual Conference is also a time to visit with old friends and strengthen the ties of our shared Connectional United Methodist system. If you have any questions about Annual Conference, please feel free to ask me or our Lay Representatives, Bill Fairbanks and Joe Asire.
See you in Church,