Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Report from Annual Conference - Day 1

I promised to blog each day about Annual Conference to keep you informed about the things going on here.

We left Spartanburg this morning at around 7am and started on our journey to Florence for the SC Annual Conference. We had to be there by 10:30 to register. Then, I went to the clergy session where we approved new pastors for ordination or provisional membership in the conference. Lay delegates had their orientation session at the same time.

After a lunch break the session started at 2pm with organizational stuff. Any group gathering must agree on the rules by which to govern themselves. We establish those rules and then live by them the rest of the week.

At 2:30 or so we had a worship service and sang as every Annual Conference has since the beginning: “And Are We Yet Alive…” The Bishop, Mary Virginia Taylor, preached calling us to remember why were are here- to do God’s work.

Then, we had the first ballot to elect lay and clergy delegates to General Conference. Each Annual Conference gets an equal number of clergy and lay delegates to represent them at General Conference, the national/international body of the church that meets every four years. We get nine lay and nine clergy representatives.

After we have elected the delegates for General Conference, we elect nine lay and nine clergy delegates to go to Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska. The Jurisdictional Conference elects bishops.

After the ballot we had the report of the Nominating Committee which nominates people for leadership in the conference. Then, we had the first reading of the budget for 2012. Both of these things- the nominations and the budget- will be acted on the last day of Annual Conference.

At around 4:30 we had an hour-long presentation on leadership.

We came back after dinner for a worship service. Then, we had another ballot, and were dismissed for the evening

Bethel Church has five lay delegates plus your two pastors to represent. The number of lay delegates is based on membership. Since we have over 1300 members, we have five lay delegates.

This is a week of doing business, of debating priorities, of sharing worship and fellowship so that we can return to our local churches renewed and inspired to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

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.

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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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