Annual Conference 2024

This week members and guests of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference will meet online and in person at Central Church in Richland, WA, June 13 to June 16 for its 151st regular session. A successful Clergy Session was held on May 29, and members gathered to discuss legislation this last weekend at Focus Sessions held online Friday and Saturday.

Pastor Amanda will be attending the conference in-person alongside John Townsend, our Inland District Lay Leader. CUMC's annual conference lay members are Michael and Janet Keffer. They will join the conference online. Rev. Dawn Beamish will preach in Pastor Amanda's place on Sunday.

You can watch much of our Annual Conference Session live on the PNWAC website at! Click here to see the schedule of events and learn what will be livestreamed. You can also view conference materials, including legislative updates and worship materials, on the Downloads page.

As they do their work, lay and clergy members will explore our conference theme, “Being Well,” which builds on the 2023-24 theme of “Go and Do Likewise.” The Gospel of John, chapter 4, verses 4-17, is our grounding scripture. Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth wrote in his call letter, “Being Well is our call to be as Christ would have us be in this time and space. Being well emotionally, physically, spiritually, and ecologically is a daily pursuit.”

Some expected highlights

This year’s annual conference sessions will open on Thursday, June 13, with worship and an episcopal address from Bishop Bridgeforth. The bishop will also help guide four opportunities for members to consider ministry values and goals as they look toward future opportunities to collaborate for better outcomes and greater efficiency within the annual conference and across the Greater Northwest Area. To allow space for these conversations, the bishop has announced that members will consider the budget at a special session later in the year.

In a laity session following the opening plenary, lay members will elect a new PNW Conference Lay Leader, with Nancy Tam Davis stepping down after eight years. During the conference, members will also approve nominations for a host of other positions on conference boards and agencies for the upcoming quadrennium.

Rev. Elizabeth Ingram Schindler and Skylar Marston-Bihl will deliver their report on the historic (and postponed) General Conference 2020 on Friday afternoon. The first-elected delegates will highlight the significant legislative changes the General Conference enacted and some of the work that lies ahead. They are reporting on behalf of the delegation that returned from Charlotte just over a month ago.

Members will receive updates and reports from conference boards, agencies, and area-level ministries. One celebration will be a new partnership between the GNW Area and Mary Johnston Hospital, a United Methodist hospital in Tondo, Philippines, where most patients are poor. The partnership is one of three offerings that members will have an opportunity to support.

Kristina Gonzalez will report on the innovation and vitality work happening across the GNW Area. A significant portion of her report will focus on the Equity Training that has been ongoing over the past six months. Members will take some time to recognize Gonzalez for her decades of service in the conference as she has announced her retirement early next year.

The body will also consider 14 recommendations submitted during the spring. Among the petitions are several typical pension-related actions, a recommended increase in moving expenses for pastoral leaders, the approval of three church closures, two petitions asking the body to lean into environmental stewardship, one focused on clergy wellness, and finally, a revision of the conference rules.

After a short plenary on Saturday morning, members will have the opportunity to participate in support of a community Kids Run sponsored annually by the host church. At the same time, a Ministry Fair returns for the first time since Covid-19 disrupted many conference traditions.

On Saturday afternoon, the body is anticipated to finish its legislative work by reading ministerial appointments and assignments, marking additional celebrations and adjourning its business. If time is needed, members may hold an extra session before worship on Sunday.

Closing with worship

Throughout the weekend, members and guests will be blessed with several opportunities to pray and worship together beyond the opening worship. Rev. Katie Ladd, pastor at Queen Anne UMC, will offer the message during a Memorial Service on Thursday evening, during which we will remember significant passings over the past year. On Friday morning, Cascadia District (OR-ID) Superintendent Rev. Tim Overton-Harris will join the body to offer a devotion. Later that morning, members will celebrate the retirement of pastoral leaders with Rev. Sheila Marie, retiring local pastor of Redeemer UMC in Kingston, WA, offering the message.

On Sunday Morning, the Annual Conference will conclude with a Service of Commissioning and Ordination with the Rev. Dr. Lydia Muñoz, executive director of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry, preaching. Members and guests will invite the Spirit to join them in blessing new leaders and sending all out to bring the Gospel of life to the communities in which God has embedded us.

Thank you to Patrick Scriven for this excellent summary!
Posted in
Posted in

No Comments