Tuesday, June 14, 2011

North Georgia UMC Annual Conference 2011- Day 1

Imagine a family reunion complete with worship, church business, elections, ordinations, networking, and LOTS of eating and meeting and you'll have a good idea of a United Methodist annual conference meeting. This year is a little different with delegate elections for the UMC General Conference in 2012 which gathers UM delegates from all the conferences across the world, and in our case, delegates for the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the UMC which will do business including the important working of electing bishops.

Some of the main activities of Day 1 includes the official business of the Board of Ordained Ministry, & then the clergy in executive session acting on the BOM recommendations. This includes the mix of receiving the names of those clergy newly commissioned or ordained, hearing the names of those who are retiring, and hearing of a great variety of situations ranging from continuation of education or status to changes of status in relationship to the conference. You see, in United Methodism clergy aren't members of a local congregation but are members of the conference, and that makes this a family reunion in many respects as it may be the only time in the year that we see each other.

A new twist that I'm experiencing this year, and really enjoying I might add, is keeping up with other delegates through Twitter. I've never really gotten into Twitter, though I find that it allows for a level of conversation, immediate response, and everything from humor to good insight that you might get with a friend or two in your row though seldom with 30 friends at once!

Tonight's worship is the ordination service & is always a favorite as families, friends, churches, and the conference gather to ordain the deacons and elders who have fulfilled all the requirements of the North Georgia Conference and have already proven themselves to be effective in ministry. Tonight will see 6 full connection deacons and 18 full connection elders be ordained!

Bishop Watson shared some words for them, and for all the clergy in executive session this morning, that got my attention: "This is our holy calling. This is our work. This is our covenant." So, we welcome these new full connection clergy into the family, and we too are renewed and challenged in this holy calling.

And this is just Day 1 of our 4 day Annual Conference! More news tomorrow as we get the results of the first ballots, as we see if there is any impact from caucus groups, lists, texts and tweets of lists, local pastors voting, etc.

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