Here’s a recap of the events at Annual Conference on Friday, June 15. See photos from the day in the galleries at the right.
Service of Ordination and Commissioning
The New England Annual Conference welcomed seven commissionees and seven ordinands. “
We are called to take risks,” Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar told the new clergy. “Are you willing to jump into this exciting adventure of faith without a safety net?” Read the story and see photos
Annual Conference guest preacher the Rev. Dr. Robert Allan Hill led Bible study on Galatians 3:28
. In introducing Dr. Hill, Mid-Maine District Superintendent Karen Munson characterized the Bible study as “the very best” of Annual Conference, and told participants, who were breakfasting, “The food that comes next, the soul food, will carry you on throughout [the day].”
Saturday’s Bible study begins at 7:15 a.m. in the Pemigewasset room.
Listen to a portion of Friday’s study
Read the complete text of the study
The Rev. Dr. Robert Allan Hill gave a sermon titled “Sweet Chariot” during Friday’s opening worship. He preached on 2 Kings 2: 1-12
. Listen to an excerpt
This discussion during this year’s Circle Process time centered on the 2018 Annual Conference theme: Vital Conversations: Culture. Participants heard stories from Circle Process Team members of their experiences with cultural differences, and discussed five questions.
Circle Process Team member Dan Genannt described the questions this way:
“The questions to be posed for Circle Process today are intended to help us learn about the gifts and graces of other cultures by asking us to identify those ourselves,” he said. “We’ll also take lessons from The Anatomy of Peace
a book by The Arbinger Institute
that’s been on the recommended reading list of our Bishop. We’ll take a look at how we approach each other and our different cultural norms.”
- What is a favorite food/recipe from when you were a child?
- What is a gift that my culture offers to others?
- When have I received a gift from another culture?
- What makes it hard for me to offer a heart of peace?
- When have I unexpectedly been offered a heart of peace?
Participants were given step-by-step instructions
for how to use Circle Process in their own contexts and a covenant for the process
; they were also given bracelets that read “Differences make a difference.”
Circle Process participants took a short break with some tai chi – take a look
The 2018 class of ordinands were asked the historical questions before the body.
One Matters Awards
Three churches in New England received One Matters Awards. These awards recognize churches that, in 2017, received a high percentage of professions of faith (relative to average worship attendance), baptized both children and adults, and are focused on the process of making disciples of Jesus Christ.
This year’s honorees are (click the link to read more about each church):
Trinity UMC in Springfield
First UMC in Pittsfield
People’s UMC in Fremont
State of the Church report
The Rev. René Perez, Dean of the Cabinet and Central Massachusetts District Superintendent gave the annual State of the Conference Report on behalf of his colleagues on the Appointive Cabinet. Read the story
When she gave her annual report on Friday, June 15, New England Conference statistician Joy Mueller had a question for the members of Annual Conference – How well do you know the New England Annual Conference by the numbers? To find out, Mueller gave members a 12-question quiz – try it
. Read the story
Annual Conference members approved the consent calendar with no changes. See the consent calendar in the Pre-Conference Materials – page 8
Due to an error in the text of one of the five constitutional amendments approved by the 2016 General Conference, Annual Conference members re-voted on Amendment I on Friday afternoon. Ballots are tallied, but the results of the vote are not released. The votes of the annual conferences will be ratified and the results announced by the Council of Bishops.
Read more about the re-vote
The Annual Conference approved the motions to discontinue four churches. Churches, not the Conference, make the decision to close, and the decisions must be approved by the Annual Conference.
- Faith United Parish in Fitchburg, MA
- First United Parish, Everett, MA
- Uncasville UMC in Uncasville, CT
- West Unity Community UMC in West Unity, NH
In the State of the Conference address, Cabinet Dean Rene Perez said, “We thank God for their ministry, their witness, the history and the impact they made in their communities and our connection.”
The following resolutions were not included in the Pre-Conference Materials. Click the links to see the text of the resolution.
From the Committee on Rules
RS-18-208 – CAMP AND RETREAT MINISTRIES EXECUTIVE BOARD - approved
RS-18-209 – CLARIFYING NOMINATIONS FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE DELEGATE NOMINATION - approved
RS-18-210 – DETERMINATION OF CONFERENCE OFFERINGS - approved
RS-18-211 – BOM BACKGROUND AND CREDIT CHECK REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE NOT U.S. CITIZENS – vote was postponed until Saturday so members could all see the resolution and the committee can perfect the language
Sale of property at Camp Mechuwana
RS-18-207 – AUTHORIZE SALE OF PARCEL OF LAND AT MECHUWANA – approved
Renewal of the Nicaragua Covenant (can be found in the Pre-Conference Materials)
RS – 18 – 204 – PROPOSED RESOLUTION ON RENEWING THE NICARAGUA COVENANT - approved
$3,827 was received in the Episcopal Night offering for the Mission of Peace.
$3,357 was received in the Ordination and Commissioning Service offering for the Ministerial Education Fund.
New building, other properties
Bernie Campbell, president of the Board of Trustees, offered an update on the new Conference Center in Methuen, MA. The offices are expected to open on June 25, 2018. Learn more about that
Campbell also offered an update on the current building at 276 Essex St., Lawrence, MA. Potential buyers raised a possible environmental issue, and assessments and testing were done; dry cleaning chemicals have been found under the building. Read more about that
Regarding 566 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Campbell said it has been vacant for many years; the co-op board has repeatedly rejected potential buyers, and there is now a lawsuit against the board pending. The case is not expected to come before the court for another year.
Campbell reported that damage from frozen pipes is the largest reason for claims. He pointed to a resource from the Conference insurer Fred C. Church to help prevent this damage. Learn more about that
There have been requests for the lyrics for the hymns sung during the Circle Process time and after the State of the Conference report.
“God’s Way Is Opening” (Sung to: O WALY WALY)
Based on the Quaker understanding of ‘Way’ opening or closing. Written for a Way Forward for the People Called Methodist. By Rev. Jill Colley Robinson Copyright 2018
“Sing a New Church”
Published by OCP – Oregon Catholic Press