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"Disciples Making Disciples"
Annual Conference 2013
 
by
 
Jan Emblidge
Stone UMC Lay Delegate
 
 
 
 
 

The theme for this year’s annual conference, Disciples Making Disciples, was chosen by Bishop Thomas Bickerton to focus “conversations, training, and strategies around how we once again find the courage and passion to invite people into the heart of God through Christian discipleship.  This is the key to any transformation or turnaround that will take place in the church.”

The Bishop further said, “To make disciples, it’s important to share life-changing stories.”  “Potential disciples are hunting for hope, joy, peace and a place of acceptance and love”, he said.  “Churches that have a vision of inviting people into the heart of God and work a plan to do it, are the churches that are growing”, the Bishop noted.

Rev. Rudy Rasmus, pastor of St. John’s UMC in Houston, TX, one of the fastest growing congregations in the USA preached at a Friday evening worship service, as well as the Saturday morning Commissioning service for 4 new provisional members.  He said, “The only way people learn about becoming a disciple is through relationships.  Most people are not going to ask what your doctrine or polity is”, he said.  “What they really want to know is can you love them.”

In his sermon during the service of ordination for 7 new elders, Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa, of Zimbabwe, said, “Disciples are made by creating community……and the church comes out of ‘community’.”

The ministry of 34 faithful clergy members was recognized.  They represent a total of 917 years of active ministry.

In the first day and a half of the conference, members packaged 25,000 meals for “Stop Hunger Now”.  The simple yet nutritious pre-packaged meals will be delivered throughout the world to meet the need of the hungry.  4,507 UMCOR kits were received at this Annual Conference.

The Conference approved a 2014 connectional (apportionment) budget of $9.55 million, which is a slight increase over the $9.06 million 2013 budget.

Other Legislative action included:

   Support for a Racial Justice Act, encouraging the PA General Assembly to enact legislation that would require courts to consider evidence of racism in sentencing.

    Support for a Juvenile Justice Act that would allow resentencing of juveniles facing five years to life in prison based on a number of factors and would change the practice of collective culpability in favor of individual culpability for crimes committed by juveniles.

    A resolution calling for Prevention of gun violence by supporting legislative efforts to reduce the number of guns and ammunition available to the public was not adopted.

    Legislation creating a task team to consider an alternate site for the Annual Conference session and District task teams for New Congregations was approved.

 

The above are some of the legislative resolutions which were considered.  The Daily proceedings of the Annual Conference, as well as links to news stories, photos and videos, are available online at the conference website: www.wpaumc.org/AC2013 .

Conference membership stands at 173,928, down 3,291 from the previous year.  Worship attendance is at 56,192, down 2,129 from the previous year.  Sunday spchool attendance is 17,542, down 397 from the previous year.

Thanks once again to the congregation, through the Church Council, for electing me to serve as your Lay Member to Annual Conference.  It is both a privilege and an honor to serve.

 
 

Our UM presence at the Crawford County Fair       

 August 17th - August 24th

The All-Church Picnic Sunday, Aug. 25th 12pm                 

@ the Wesbury picnic shelter

Rally Day Breakfast Sunday, Sept. 8th

Consecration Sunday Celebration Sunday, Oct. 6th 

Make-a-Difference Day Saturday, Oct. 19th

Charge Conference Sunday, Oct. 20th 7pm

 
 
     
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