Sunday, June 12, 2011

SC Annual Conference- Days 3 and 4

It's early Sunday morning and we're at the last day of Annual Conference. This year I got a Lay Speaker to preach the traditional services and the Youth Pastor to preach at the contemporary service. And, I am here today for the duration.

I have failed to write at the end of days 3 and 4 because they were long days and when I got back to my room I was too tired to do anything. So, let me summarize the days here and now.

Over the last two days we heard various reports from our seminaries and from our colleges. We listened to a moving report about Epworth Children's Home. We spent a lot of time debating about a resolution on immigration. The resolution which called for us Methodist Christians to be hospitable to immigrants passed but only by a slim margin. It reflected the conflicted feelings that exist in our culture as a whole.

We approved the closing of two churches and we approved some charge line changes- that means some pastors serve more than one church.

We celebrated some new church starts- at least four that are thriving. WE were challenged to consider every church as a parent church for another church. Congregational Development told us that they would give grants to churches that are creating new ministries.

Over and over we were reminded that we exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We joined in worship in the African American tradition and a contemporary service with praise band.

Yesterday was an emotional day for me. We had in the morning the service of retirement for pastors who are retiring. As others start their ministries these pastors are coming to retirement. Now, we know that God's call knows no retirement but these are coming to that point in their lives when they will step out of being under appointment by the bishop and do ministry in different ways. We have several retired pastors as a part of Bethel Church: Thurman Anderson, Charlie Graves, Bob Strother, and Ken Bobo. They have continued their ministries among us.

Each gets to says something to the rest of us.

Then, after lunch we came back for the memorial service. We celebrated the lives of those pastors, spouses and others who died since last Annual Conference. Several died who have meant much to me over the years. I did the funeral of one of them. It was an intense and moving experience.

Balloting is done and we have elected all of the clergy and lay delegates for General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference.

Today we will have our Ordination Service. In the United Methodist Church, the Bishop ordains pastors. It is always a great service as we set aside those whom God has called to serve the 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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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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