March 20, 2022
Beloved in Christ:
Greetings in the precious and matchless name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I am once again blessed to cordially invite each and every one of you to our 2022 Annual Conference hybrid session to be held from June 9-11 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Manchester, NH. The Clergy Session will be held on June 8.
After two years of holding annual conference online, I am very much looking forward to being together in person. That said, I encourage you to participate in whichever way is most comfortable for you and your safety and wellbeing.
As your Episcopal leader, I am grateful for your steadfastness, faithfulness and determination as we continue to deal with the challenges of COVID-19, and with the ongoing changes in our denomination. Despite the further postponement of the General Conference, the uncertainty around the jurisdictional conferences, and the yet unknown effects of the formation of another denomination, we will be gathering for Holy Conferencing as an Annual Conference this year.
As your resident bishop, let me say that I have seen a new spirit emerging in our Conference, and despite these uncertainties, I am confident about our future. I want to reassure you that the work we will undertake at this Annual Conference session is vital, and we will do it together guided by the Holy Spirit. In fact, I must add that I appreciate the ways I have seen our clergy and laity already acting on this year’s theme of “Envisioning a Beloved Community.”
As we gather for holy conferencing, let us remember the words of Paul in our guiding scripture:
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward — to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. (Philippians 3:12-14 The Message)
May this verse remind us that we are all imperfect, but in our Wesleyan spirit, “moving on to perfection” in our relationship with God and one another. Let’s run this race together in harmony with all God’s children!
A hybrid session means that some of us will be participating virtually at least part, or perhaps all, of the time. We will again be using electronic voting – the same system for both those in person and online. Good News TV (GNTV), will be with us again this year to provide A/V support, including their voting platform, in which each voting member has a secure individual login.
The Sessions Team and I feel confident that the GNTV platform will enable us to engage in Holy Conferencing and accurate, secure voting in order to complete the business of the Annual Conference. This work, which includes the Clergy Session, is required before we can ordain and commission the Class of 2022 and further our shared mission and ministry.
In accordance with our Conference rules around electronic voting, I want to include the following reminder here: Conference Rule VI. C.
11 states “… if 10 percent of the members oppose use of remote voting by submitting their signatures within 30 days of the announcement, there will not be remote voting used as proposed by the Bishop." Objections can be sent to Conference Secretary Preeti Pabreja at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends, Holy or Christian Conferencing is a sacred trust! Kindly take time to read all the materials and participate in pre-conference conversations, ask questions, and engage in prayerful discernment, so we might experience true Holy Conferencing and celebrate our work together to build God's beloved community.
Additionally, may we keep in mind the three simple rules from the Wesleyan tradition: Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.
May we remind ourselves that a hybrid session will be a new experience for us and will bring some unique challenges as well as benefits. God has blessed us with participants for whom English is not their first language and others who may not be as familiar with Roberts Rules of Order, computer technology or the workings of Annual Conference. Realizing all of this, may we come willing to extend Christian love, patience and understanding to all!
We are blessed to have the presence of our own sister, Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, who has graciously agreed to join us as our Conference preacher and Bible Study teacher and participate in our Service of Ordination and Commissioning. I am also excited to share that Dr. Marcia McFee and Dr. Mark Miller are returning as our Conference worship leaders.
Friends, I look forward to our joining hearts with one another to have truly blessed Holy/Christian Conferencing.
Most importantly, may I request that we hold one another, our guests, and our Annual Conference in our prayers. I would also ask that we, as people of God, continue to pray for peace for Ukraine and our world.
In Christ's love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar