Here’s a recap of the events at Annual Conference on Saturday, June 16. See photos from the day in the galleries at the right.
Annual Conference guest preacher the Rev. Dr. Robert Allan Hill led Bible study on Saturday, June 16, 2018 on John 17:3 - And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
“We are about to place our homiletical flag on the very summit, the highest of high peaks, the textual Matterhorn, Everest, Mount Washington, Pike’s Peak: John 17:3,” Dr. Hill said. Read an excerpt from the study
Listen to an excerpt from the Friday, June 15, Bible study on Galatians 3:28
Local Pastors/Gateways to God participants
Licensed Local Pastors being newly appointed in 2018 and the participants in the most recent Gateways to God spiritual direction training were recognized (see photos in the gallery at right). See the list
Wilbur C. Ziegler Award
The Rev. Peter Hey, who the serves Wesley UMC in Concord, NH, is the 2018 Ziegler honoree. He preached the sermon during the Saturday morning worship. Read the story Listen to an excerpt
Lifetime of Discipleship Awards
On Saturday, June 16, 2018, the Preachers’ Aid Society of New England presented two Lifetime of Discipleship Awards, which recognize laity for “many years of dedicated service to the ministries, missions and prophetic callings of United Methodists in New England.” This year’s honorees are Clarice Gothberg from the Open Table of Christ UMC in Warwick, RI, and George Button from Hope UMC in Belchertown, MA. Read more about them
Board of Laity
The Board of Laity reported that there were no entries into the Laity Address Challenge for 2018, but the board will continue with the challenge next year, and hopes that laypeople will participate. In October, New England will host lay leaders from the Northeastern Jurisdiction – more information about that meeting will be announced as it becomes available.
Bob Hout, lay leader for the Central MA District, offered a short reflection on the 2018 theme scripture: Ephesians 4:11-13, The Voice.
Holding up a cut-glass vase that he received from JFON, Hout compared the 600 facets on the vase to the nearly 600 churches in the Conference. Just like the many facets of the vase reflect light, so do we reflect the light of God. How many people does that take?
“We need everyone,” he said. “We need all kinds of people with all kinds of gifts to reach all kinds of people with all kinds of gifts.”
Pearl Wilkinson, co-lay leader for the RISEM District, spoke to encourage churches to celebrate Laity Sunday each year.
“Not all laity are gifted to preach,” Wilkinson said, “but we can be motivated and mobilized to witness more effectively.” The laity, she said, “need to be trained, equipped, inspired and held accountable and then trained some more.”
Laity Sunday is a special Sunday to be observed on the third Sunday in October (can be observed any time), and focuses on the celebration of the ministry of all lay Christians. In many local churches, Laity Sunday is observed by having lay persons lead all parts of the worship service. Discipleship Ministries provides resources for Laity Sunday.
United Methodist Foundation of New England
Foundation President Rev. Jim Mentzer announced that he will be retiring next year, and the foundation has begun a nationwide search for his replacement. He also announced that $22,475 in donations and pledges (as of June 18, the total was $23,800) had been received for the newly established Pastors Respite Fund. The foundation has offered a $25,000 matching grant for the fund.
NE Justice for our Neighbors
Gary Richards thanked churches for their support of this ministry that provides legal assistance to immigrants and asylum seekers. In January, the Woburn clinic reopened, the Springfield clinic is marking its fifth year, and “the board has agreed to take a risk” and move forward to open a clinic in the Lowell/Lawrence area to meet “the dire need” for legal services for unaccompanied minors . Richards later came to the floor to say that the JFON board would work to match the $30,000 donation that is proposed in RS-18-215 (see below).
United Methodist Eldercare
United Methodist Eldercare announced that it is changing its name to Aldersbridge Communities in order to better serve its mission and position itself to receive increased grant support.
The following were amended or proposed after the publication of the Pre-Conference Materials. Click the links to read the legislation.
RS-18-206 – PROPOSED SLATE FOR ELECTION OF CONFERENCE OFFICERS – approved (that report will be published on the website as soon as it becomes available).
RS-18-211 – BOM BACKGROUND AND CREDIT CHECK REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE NOT U.S. CITIZENS
RS-18-212 – TAKING A STANCE AGAINST SEPARATING IMMIGRANT CHILDREN
RS-18-213 – ENCOURAGING ATTENDANCE AT THE SPECIAL GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSION
RS-18-214 – REQUESTING A DECLARATORY DECISION FROM THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL
RS-18-215 – ENCOURAGING A SPECIAL JFON OFFERING AT 2019 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Offerings and donations
Offering received Saturday for UMCOR was $3,557.30 Thank you!
Amount received or pledged for the Pastors Respite Fund as of June 18, 2018 is $23,800.
“We are excited by the response to date. It is obvious, after listening to stories at annual conference, that these resources are essential in supporting our clergy who sometimes make personal sacrifices for the sake of sharing the Good News of Christ within and beyond their faith communities,” said the Rev. Dr. David Abbott, Director of Stewardship. If you would like to make a pledge or donation, visit the Foundation website: http://www.umfne.org/
As of June 19, the Jewelry collection to benefit youth programs raised $2,770. Prema Devadhar and Lori McKinley would like to thank everyone who donated or purchased jewelry for the sale.
The last action before the closing worship was the setting of appointments (see photos from each district in the gallery at right). Find the 2018 list of appointments here
Those gathered for the closing worship weaved strips of cloth together to form “the ties that bind” around the entire plenary space (see photos at right). The closing benediction:
When someone needs a blessing, let us be a blessing.
When someone needs a shoulder, let us be a shoulder.
When someone feels distant and alone, help us show that we are woven, connected.
When we need a tie that binds, let us be the tie that binds!
As we go forth into this day, let us weave sunshine in all that we do.
When we consider the earth and all its inhabitants, let us be the hope of tomorrow.