Songs of praise and celebration ushered in the Spirit of God and enlivened the hearts of some 1,200 United Methodists gathered at the University of Redlands (Redlands, CA) for the 33rd Annual Session of the California-Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church.
The theme was “From Here to There,” (#heretothere) based on Matthew 10:5-11, with the purpose of providing an opportunity for the Conference to reflect upon who we were as well as to respond to the challenge to become different than what we might currently be.
This was Resident Bishop Grant J. Hagiya’s first Conference Session since returning to the California-Pacific Conference as an Episcopal Leader. Those gathered joyously welcomed him with, of course, a lei from the Hawaii District and a standing ovation. And, Bishop Hagiya did not wait long to guide the “body” into a new format of conferencing this year which emphasized learning and reflection on ministry leadership through “Messaging Moments,” of TED-like talks.
Each moment hosted speakers and shared media that were oriented around the “four priorities of transformation” of: Transforming Vital Congregations, Transforming Christian Leaders, Transforming Lives, and Transforming the World. Moreover, it was clearly articulated that the presumption of the “four priorities” was that the Conference exists to resource the local churches for growth and that the local churches will be tangibly expected to grow in number.
As highlighted below, much work was done throughout the Conference:
- Special Offerings – Those gathered gave generously to the following special causes:
Claremont School of Theology – $6,361.62
Strength for the Journey (Retreat for those living w/ HIV/AIDS) – $3,453.87
Congo Women Arise – $4,217.24
- Discussion on the Commission on the Way Forward – Bishop Hagiya shared a “sugar packet” presentation which was a resource used by the Commission on the Way Forward, of which Bishop Hagiya is a member, that explored categories of perspectives on the current impasse on the characterization of homosexuality in the Book of Discipline. It led into a spirited and emotional discussion with those gathered on the polity involved, the impact on those inside and outside the LGBT community, as well as the implications for the church’s future.
- Finances – The Council on Finance and Administration reported that Conference net spending did not exceed net revenue for the fifth consecutive year and that the number of churches with apportionment giving at 100% increased to 213. An Apportionment Budget for Conference Ministries of $12,450,000 was approved which is a 3.84% decrease from 2017.
- Legislation – The great majority of legislation was passed through the Legislative Sections and by Consent Calendar.
– 7 Recommendations for Action Passed
– 17 Resolutions Passed
– 3 Recommendations for Rules Changes Passed
- Declaratory Decision – A motion for a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council was seconded and passed which requested a determination on the legality of the sentence of the sentence in the of the sentence in the 2016 Book of Discipline ❡161.G, “and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching,” because it violates the First and Second Restrictive Rules ❡17-18
- Board of Ordained Ministry – A statement on the highest standards of faithful and holy living as a possibility for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities was developed and presented by the Board of Ordained Ministry.
- In Memoriam – Guest preaching at this service was Rev. Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore (Boston School of Theology)
– 19 Clergy
– 19 Clergy Spouses
– 2 Bishops
– 4 Bishop’s Spouses
– 13 Clergy entered into retired relationship
– 372.5 total years of service represented
- Commissioning and Ordination – Guest preaching at this service was Bishop Michael McKee (Dallas Episcopal Area)
– 12 Commissioned Elders
– 2 Ordained Elders
– 2 Commissioned Deacons
– 2 Ordained Deacons
– 1 GBGM Missionary
These videos are the most up to date versions as of June 17, 2017. Messaging Moments will be edited to be without the Worship Services as soon as possible.