Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Annual Conference Time Again

Many of you already know that the United Methodist Church is organized in Conferences. When John Wesley founded Methodism, he believed that "conferencing" was a uniquely Christian meeting for prayer, planning and seeking the will of god. There was no such thing as "solitary" religion for John Wesley.

The largest and most far-reaching conference for us is the General Conference which meets every four years, during a presidential election year, to write the Book of Discipline which is our covenant for our common life together as Methodists. Most of the Book of Discipline cannot be changed or altered- beliefs, doctrine, etc. Still as we grow, hopefully together, every four years there are things that need to be updated or changed. So we sent clergy and lay delegates to the General Conference to plan, pray and seek God's will for us in the next four years. People from all over the world will be at this meeting or conference.

Jurisdictional Conference is next. It also meets every four years. The Jurisdictional Conferences are regional. So, we are in the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference the home base of which is Lake Junaluska. Just as General Conference plans ministry for our church in the whole world, the jurisdictional conference plans ministry in the region. It also elects bishops. When active bishops die or retire, we elect new bishops (clergy who are Ordained Elders). Bishops are bishops for life. They never come back to the local church.

Each Jurisdiction (region) has within it several Annual Conferences which meet annually (duh!). Annual Conferences are geographical areas over which a bishop presides. Ours is easy to remember. We are in the South Carolina Conference. Our bishop is Mary Virginia Taylor.

Our Annual Conference meets in Florence, SC. Each local church sends the clergy (David Smith and I) plus lay members to annual conference as representatives. Since we are a large church we are asked to send five lay members.

Annual Conference will set a budget and elect officers for the next year. At Annual Conference, the bishop will ordain deacons and elders to serve the church. We will celebrate successful ministries and we will plan others. We will share in worship and prayer and planning. Then, we will be sent out on the last day to our places of service for another year. The clergy are appointed by the bishop.

We will meet June 10-13. We covet your prayers and support as we seek God's will for us for another year of United Methodism in South Carolina.

I will blog every day about what we're doing. So, tune in for the latest info.

See you in Church!
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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