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Spiritual Discipline Grounds Cal-Pac Visioning Retreat

newsAfter the bread was broken and the juice was poured into the cup, they were placed at the center of the table to symbolize Christ’s leading and to set the tone for the Mission/Vision Discernment Team Retreat.

On Friday, April 11, 2014, 17 people gathered to embrace with prayer 12,000 responses submitted by local churches throughout the California-Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church and to discern the will of God in visioning its future. Those present included Resident Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, leaders of the Navigation Essential Ministry Team and its subteams, and Conference staff persons who were led into prayer and the study of scripture by Sharon Conley, General Board of Discipleship Associate Director of Community Networks and Learning, and Susan Ruach, retired General Board of Discipleship Director of Connectional and Spiritual Leadership.

An integral part of the process was a long-awaited review by Dr. Art Hernandez, Dean of the College of Education at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, in analyzing all responses collected from United Methodist across the Conference. The analysis revealed a deep yearning of the Conference to live up to God’s highest calling both in its relationship amongst its own members and churches as well as in its role in the world.

wholeThen, honest dialogue, focused brainstorming, and enthusiastic collaboration followed with spiritual discipline as the foundation. The exchange of prayers and ideas touched upon a variety of topics such as the centrality of Jesus Christ to our Conference identity, the need to communicate effectively with a postmodern society, and the distinct value of Wesleyan theology and practice in the contemporary world.

After much hard work, it was decided that the task of crafting of a statement would be undertaken by the Mission/Vision Articulation Team that will be meeting during the week following Holy Week. Leaders present at the retreat described it as “another step in becoming ‘we,’ as a time of recognizing how God has provided all that we need to accomplish our task, and as a spirit-led process that was not a business meeting.”

A final meeting with the Mission/Vision Discernment Team, after the work of the Mission/Vision Articulation Team, will complete this portion of the process until a full report is delivered at Journey to Wholeness: Annual Conference 2014.