Lay Leaders From 'All Over' Come Together in Cal-Nevada

February 20, 2009

The California-Nevada Annual Conference is playing host, this week (February 19-22), to the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders of the United Methodist Church (AACLL).


Under the banner, "Disciples Transforming the World," some 52 lay leaders - coming from as far as Zimbabwe - have gathered at the UM Center in West Sacramento, California to resource each other, exploring such topics as Spiritual and Servant Leadership, Extended Cabinet/Episcopal Relationships, Finances and Budgets, and Alternative Administrative Structures.


AACLL President Scott Johnson, of Western New York Annual Conference, opened the meeting with acknowledgment of the "need for fellowship and connection" and for examination of "what it means to share in this role." While admitting, "There are no magic bullets," he reminded delegates that "our God is big, infinite, and diverse," and said he hoped those attending would get something they could take home with them and use.


General Board of Discipleship Liaison Sandy Jackson spoke later Thursday morning, and Cal-Nevada Resident Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. (shown at right) delivered the sermon, "Being Real," and led the Service of Communion at Opening Worship that evening.


Keynote presenters Drs. James and Molly Davis Scott, authors of Restoring the Wesleyan Class-Meeting, led the Friday sessions, with James Scott cautioning, "We must always renew the Wesleyan class-meeting, because it is the heart and the life of Methodism, and without it we shall perish."


Reading from a 1600s journal and reflecting on her own memories of being the daughter of a class leader, Molly Davis Scott (in photo below) asked conferees, "Who do you want to be ... as a person and ... as a Christian? When you are dead and gone, as we each will be, what do you want your children to say about you? What do you want your grandchildren to remember about you?"


The early Methodists, she reminded, paid for and built orphanages, hospitals, the first pharmacies, and universities, and - "They stopped slavery in the British Empire; they ground it to a halt!


"Now these are people that changed the world. These are the people that took an upside-down world that was every bit as chaotic, and fearful, and desperate, as what you and I are living through in 2009 - and they turned the world right side-up.


"These Methodist people bettered the world for everyone. And they're gone now. Who will take their place?" she challenged.


The Scotts are pastors, missionaries, adjunct seminary professors, and Elders in the Arkansas Annual Conference.