History will be made Thursday, May 30 –Sunday, June 2 when the Michigan Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church meets for the first time! For the last two years the now former Detroit and West Michigan Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church have meet together: same time and place. We did, however, have separate votes on things like nominating leadership, clergy relationships, resolutions that affected only one conference and budgets. This year, after years of much prayer and hard work we are one! This means, amongst other things, we can speak as the United Methodist Church in Michigan.
We will be meeting at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme, near Traverse City. This is one of the very few venues in the state which can hold the 1,400 or so members plus guests. Voting members from Marble Memorial UMC include Rod Hill and Brenda Kempher as your lay members and myself as clergy member.Julie Zawacki will be attending as a guest. She does not have a vote at conference, and is going ather own expense, but can share her observations and thoughts following conference.
This is the first year, at least in several years, where MMUMC has had two lay people as voting members.We have two voting members per the ‘lay equalization formula’ of the new annual conference. This formula is in place to ensure there is an equal number of clergy and lay people at the conference and voting on issues. All clergy who are members of the annual conference must have a lay person to equalize the count. This includes not only District Superintendents, conference staff, persons in extension ministry (such as hospital chaplains) but all retirees –even if they are physically unable to attend. Thus, Marble Memorial UMC has more than one lay member, at least this year. Sometimes people serving in various capacities in the conference will attend as part of this formula. Vicki Englebert attended this way when she was District United Methodist Women president.
During the conference we will be remembering clergy and their family who have passed from this earth during this past year, celebrating clergy milestones including retirees, and those beginning their time as clergy, adopting a conference budget for 2020 and voting on legislation.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Bold and Effective Leaders”. We will be pondering what it takes to be a bold and effective leader, what do we notice when we experience bold and effective leadership, and when you’re trying to be a bold and effective leader, what do you try to “stir up” from within? During our gathering we will look at the wisdom...and heart... and courage it takes to be the leaders God calls us to be as we strive to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
For more information on the conference, including what legislation we will be dealing with, go to https://2019.michiganumc.org/. Please keep all involved with the conference in prayer as we gather –and travel to and from Acme.
See you Sunday and Invite Someone!
- Pastor Jackie Roe