Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Rev. Andrew's Annual Conference Recap


From June 20-23, over 1,000 United Methodists from our 370 congregations throughout the California-Nevada Conference were called to “Testify to Love: Do All the Good you Can,” as we gathered together at the Modesto Centre Plaza in Downtown Modesto for the 170th Session of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, led by our resident bishop, Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño.  Our elected lay delegates, Elsie Wesley and Stephanie McMillan, along with Pastor Ray and myself represented Community UMC, Quincy.  Each congregation is represented by laity and clergy equally.  Speaking of clergy, I do bring us greetings from past Community UMC pastors, Rev. Pamela Abbey (1986-1989) who is retired and looks forward to coming up for another visit to Quincy, and from Rev. Cynthia Stateman (2000-2011), who is going to be serving Newcastle UMC near Auburn starting July 1 (where Pastor Ray also served before). 

During our time in Modesto, we worshiped, beginning with a beautiful service of Holy Communion led by our bishop, then got to work in doing the business of the church.  On the first day, we heard from clergy who have answered the roll call for 50 years or more, then broke into clergy and laity sessions.  In clergy session, I was presented before the clergy of our conference by the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) for commissioning as a provisional elder and was approved by the clergy body, which led to my commissioning at the service of commissioning and ordination on Friday night.

Each morning, we began our time with worship and devotions (including some yoga moves), then our teaching time led by Rev. Marlon Hall, who is a visual anthropologist and pastor.  He asked us to “name our why” and encouraged us to take risks in being innovative in our ministries and in sharing the word.  We would then conduct the business of the church in each plenary session, which included fixing appointments (mine was fixed Thursday night), seeing videos of retirees, hearing reports, and dealing with some of the items of legislation which pertain to our conference.  On Thursday afternoon, we remembered the clergy and clergy spouses who have died this past year, as my home church’s pastor, Rev. JoAnn Juniel was one of the clergy who died this past year (Pastor JoAnn was going to retire this year too!). 

While I mostly enjoy the annual conference session, I will be completely honest that legislation is not my favorite part of Annual Conference and am thankful we break it up into sections that scour over and perfect each item.  Our goal is to get each item on what is called the consent calendar, in which each piece of legislation that passes is included on the consent calendar and is accepted as a bundle.  Of course, pieces of legislation can be removed from the consent calendar via a petition and items that do not make the consent calendar are then dealt with on the floor of the plenary which can get tedious at times.  Thankfully, legislation has been relatively smooth the last few years, with many of the items this year pertaining to pension, retirement, finance, standing rules, along with several social-justice oriented items.  This year, I had an opportunity to be an assistant leader for one of the sections and it was challenging, yet a great learning experience in applying my knowledge of parliamentary procedure.  Elsie served as secretary for another section, so Quincy was well represented in the legislative process!! 
My personal highlight was the service of ordination and commissioning, as I was commissioned a provisional elder by the bishop (photo credit: Justin Martin).  Elsie took a video of my commissioning, which was a powerful and touching moment.  Three of us were commissioned as provisional elders, while two were commissioned as provisional deacons (ministers of word & service).  The five of us, Alyss, Sina, Sunrae, Sanghyun, and I will work together these next two to three years in the Residence-In-Ministry Academy (RIM) and will be ordained as elders or deacons in full connection when we have fulfilled all requirements set forth by the Board of Ordained Ministry. 

Although the days were long and as tired as I still am as I write this recap a few days after, I always love being together with people around our connection in worship, breaking bread, fellowship, and with my clergy colleagues and other friends.  Anytime you would like to learn more about the work of the conference, or if you would like to get involved on the district level, please talk with me more!!  Overall, it was a good conference where the Holy Spirit moved and I look forward to next year’s conference in Modesto, although will get to see my clergy colleagues at Gathering of the Orders in January, also in Modesto. 

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