A Future With Hope

March 29, 2008

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

In four weeks General Conference will begin at the Fort Worth, Texas Convention Center. Nine hundred and ninety-two elected delegates from around the world will gather for holy conferencing and conversation about the United Methodist Church and the future. This is a momentous and exciting time to be the Church in the world today. The theme that blends our future with the tree of hope is a biblical sign from the prophet Jeremiah to the Church and the world that we believe God continues to call us into the future with hope as we make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.


Many of you have been delegates, alternates, and observers to General Conference. Many others have never attended a session of this body and yet your lives have been deeply impacted by what happens there. For two weeks the delegates will deliberate in legislative and plenary sessions over the many petitions and resolutions sent in by local churches, general agencies, Bishops, individuals, and groups concerning changes to the Book of Discipline and the Book of Resolutions. Delegates will work intently for long hours on each item. Their days will begin with exciting worship and extend into the wee hours as they are joined by local and international guests and observers. Our own Spiritual Image choir from South Hayward UMC will provide music for a service again this year. Preaching and daily Communion will be provided by our Bishops, who will meet for four days before General Conference begins to focus on the four themes of continuity that will undergird our shared ministry: ministry with the poor, global health, new church starts, and leadership development.  


These days will be rigorous and filled with deep faith, challenge, and spirit. I ask that you pray for our delegation and the whole of General Conference. As it only occurs every four years it bears tremendous weight for our future as God's holy vehicle of transformation. You may follow the daily proceedings online at www.umc.org and through our own website at www.cnumc.org. 


Since the first regular General Conference met in Baltimore, Maryland in November of 1792 we continue this hallowed tradition as United Methodists by gathering for holy conferencing in the name of Christ who has made us disciples to transform the world for the sake of God's new heaven and earth. 


Your sister and Bishop in Christ,







Beverly J. Shamana