Note: This is the official report of our Annual Conference Session, written for and provided to United Methodist News Service and UM Newscope.
By Cate Monaghan
Director of Communications
The 163rd Annual Conference Session of the California-Nevada Annual Conference climaxed a season of preparation grounded in a study, Catch Fire in 50 Days, written by members of the Conference's Vital Congregations Task Group. We took our theme, Be/See/Do, from the introduction to Week 1 of the study: "In order to become a movement of God's mission in the world we must BE who we are, SEE what we have and DO what matters to God."
The authors of the study called this a simple transformational process, and it continued at the Sacramento Convention Center June 15-18 as we lifted our voices in praise, led by Global Praise Program Director Jorge Lockward; were invited by guest speaker Rev. Adam Hamilton to develop our skills at Leading Beyond the Walls of the church in order to reach those without a faith foundation; and formally entered into a covenant for partnership with Path 1.
We welcomed back to Cal-Nevada Bishop Melvin Talbert (at right), who delivered the sermon at Thursday's Journey of the Saints service, and welcomed ecumenical representatives Bishop Mark W. Holmerud of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Presiding Elders Booker T. Guyton and W. Bartalette Finney of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
We took a Conference Offering to benefit the Methodist Mission in Cambodia, and the Youth Delegation raised more than $7,000 for Imagine No Malaria. Delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences were elected on just four ballots.
Lay delegates elected to General Conference: Randall Miller, Oakland, CA (delegation leader); Emily Allen, San Francisco, CA; and Yoshiro Nakajima, San Jose, CA.
Clergy delegates: Odette Lockwood-Stewart, Berkeley, CA; Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, Berkeley, CA; and Dale Weatherspoon, Mountain View, CA.
Lay delegates elected to Jurisdictional Conference: Delilah Fakalata, Sacramento, CA; Gayle Shearman, Novato, CA; Laddie Perez Galang, Vacaville, CA; Katherine Kim, Morgan Hill, CA; Aaron Rhodes, San Francisco, CA; Robert Dunning, Colfax, CA; and Emma Rhodes, San Francisco, CA.
Clergy delegates: Greg Bergquist, Santa Rosa, CA; Siosifa Hingano, San Jose, CA; Elizabeth Brick, Sacramento, CA; Motoe Yamada, Sacramento, CA; Karen Oliveto, South San Francisco, CA; Staci Current, Oakland, CA; and Kristin Sachen, San Francisco, CA.
Lay delegate reserves for Jurisdictional Conference: Blanche Farnam, Portola, CA; Tom McHugh, Palo Alto, CA; Beth Snyder, Sacramento, CA; Brendan Spohn, San Francisco, CA; and Helen Roland, Davis, CA.
Clergy delegate reserves: Felicisimo Cao, Vallejo, CA; Susan Griffin, San Francisco, CA; David Niu, Escalon, CA; Mark Zier, San Francisco, CA; and Chris Shiber, El Cerrito, CA.
Members directed the delegation to General Conference to support efforts to enhance and strengthen overall Church efforts to implement the goals and principles of Resolution 4135, Rights of Workers, 2008 Book of Resolutions; supported a recommendation that the 2012 General Conference adopt the draft Pacific Islanders Comprehensive Plan; and forwarded to General Conference a resolution calling for a ban on menthol in cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Members also forwarded several resolutions to the 2012 General Conference asking for changes to the Book of Discipline: End discrimination against homosexual clergy by amending ¶304.3; End discrimination in clergy charges by amending ¶2702.1; End discrimination and confusion in funding by amending ¶806.9; End discrimination and confusion in funding by amending ¶613.20; Offer the blessings of Christian marriage to homosexual couples by amending ¶341.6; Remove discriminatory language about homosexuality by amending Footnote 3 of ¶311.2(d); Update Civil Equal Rights by amending ¶162J; and Remove condemnatory language on homosexuality from ¶161F.
The Annual Conference Session concluded on Saturday with the Service of Commissioning and Ordination.
Two deacons were commissioned, there was Recognition of Orders for one elder from another denomination, and 14 elders – eight females and six males, with an average age of 49 – were ordained. The service ended in what has become a California-Nevada tradition, with Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. washing the feet of the newly ordained clergy.
Conference Statistician J. Scott Allred reported that in the past year 130 churches grew in membership – with the largest area of gain coming in Professions of Faith, up by 1,706.
Membership stands at 78,958, down 1,417 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 36,955, down 469. Church school attendance stands at 7,737, down 413.