In his sermon, Bishop Unda preached to those gathered that God knows each disciple by name and that this very fact ought to encourage all disciples of Jesus Christ. He preached about how God embraces all, that there are no borders for God, and that all persons belong to God. He also shared his experience of being captured by a commander who somehow recognized that Bishop Unda used to be his school teacher and decided to release him. And, he emphasized to those gathered that the California-Pacific Conference is fortunate to have a Bishop, “that knows how to Bish!” Bishop Unda received a standing ovation after his sermon and, later in the day, was sent with the love of the California-Pacific Conference back to the East Congo Conference.
Reporting on General Conference, Bishop Carcaño shared with those gathered that the Council of Bishops is taking seriously the General Conference’s request for a special commission on the matter of the inclusion of the LGBTQ community. Under consideration is the membership of the commission. The Council of Bishops has a strong commitment to assuring that the special commission reflects the worldwide nature of the church, those directly affected by the decision of the commission, and younger persons. In addition, a special general conference before General Conference 2020 might be called to receive a report and recommendation of the special commission. Bishop Carcaño recognized Rev. Lui Tran as a newly elected member of the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church and Rev. Preston Price who has been invited to serve as the Clerk to the Judicial Council.
Sharing about the state of the annual conference Bishop Carcaño reported that in 2015 the California-Pacific Conference experienced an increase in the number of young adults in Christian formation groups, persons in small groups of all ages, persons in mission, and participants in vacation bible school. She encouraged our congregations to continue serving in these fruitful ways. Of concern was the decrease in our conference membership. Our Conference ended 2015 with a membership of 68,426, down from 70,891 at the end of 2014. Bishop Carcaño expressed particular concern for the decline in the membership of men in our local congregations. She encouraged those gathered to think about ways by which our ministries with men could grow, and committed to leading the effort to attend to the spiritual needs of men in our area. Also in her prayers has been Claremont School of Theology (CST). Bishop Carcaño challenged our conference to strengthen our support of CST as it prepares leaders for the Church in the world.
Major decisions made at the 32nd Session included the passing of Resolution 16-6, which directs the Conference LGBTQ Task Force to work with leaders in the LGBTQ communities in the California-Pacific region in nurturing environments of care and safety for LGBTQ persons in response to the shooting in Orlando, FL, as well as Resolution 16-7, albeit amended for clarity, which calls on local, state, and federal lawmakers to require and enforce gun safety measures including background checks, a ban on assault rifles, and a ban on semi-auto to automatic conversion kits, among other measures.
Also passed was Resolution 16-11, which, “urges the Bishop and Cabinet to state publicly they will not deny appointments based on sexual orientation or gender identity; urges the Board of Ordained Ministry to declare its intention not to consider sexual orientation and gender identity in making decisions in regard to commissioning and ordination; urges trial boards not to convict for chargeable offenses pertaining to being ‘a self-avowed, practicing homosexual,’ as well as for those clergy who officiate at weddings for couples regardless of the gender of the partners, and that these matters would be addressed through ‘Just Resolution.'”
To support our conference ministries, the 32nd Session approved the 2017 Budget of $12.9 million, which is a 1% increase from the 2016 Budget. Our Conference continues to demonstrate growing financial health. Over the last four years, our conference’s expenses have not exceeded revenue. Moreover, our 2015 total Apportionment giving increased by 2.7% and the California-Pacific Conference was able to contribute 100% of its General Church Apportionment and is moving faithfully toward fulfilling its quadrennial jurisdictional apportionment at 100% by the end of this year.
$8,158.75 was received as a special offering collected at the Opening Worship for the East Congo Conference. The Memorial Service offering totaled $2,160 and was dedicated to ministries with farmers of the Lumad, the indigenous people of the Philippines in Mindanao. The Commissioning and Ordination Service offering in the amount of $3,250 was dedicated to the work of the United Methodist Mission in Honduras with the poor and repatriated immigrants.
It was a fitting reflection in light of the focus of the 32nd Session of the California-Pacific Conference on “Therefore, Go.” We are called to go forth into the world for its healing and transformation through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. This is the missional spirit of the California-Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church as it seeks to inspire the world as passionate followers of Jesus Christ so all may experience God’s life-giving love.SEE ALL AC2016 VIDEO
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