GC 2012: Join Prayerful Preparations

April 11, 2012

Africa Conferences are in prayer for General Conference

Delegates from across the three Central Conferences of Africa (West, South and East), consisting of  26 Annual Conferences, convened at the Stephen Trowen Nagbe United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Republic of Liberia, March 28-31 for the sole purpose of holding a Prayer Summit to pray for General Conference. The gathering was organized by the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church under the theme, "That They May All Be One" (John 17: 21).  
The Africa Prayer Summit was the first of its kind.
The Central Conferences released a five-count resolution in which delegates resolved to link up in a 24-hour prayer chain for the successful hosting of General Conference and to intensify their praying process while General Conference is underway, from midnight April 21 to midnight May 4.
According to the resolution, the Africa Prayer Summit delegates pledged to explore the possibility of leadership training, missionary services, theological education, and other ministries in and among the Annual Conferences. The resolution reaffirmed the position of the African Churches on the issues of social concerns and ordination. 
The five-count resolution:
Now, therefore, be it resolved, we, the participants at this Prayer Summit in preparation for the General Conference 2012, commit ourselves to the following actions before, during, and after the General Conference:
  1. To link in a 24-hour prayer chain for the successful hosting of General Conference.
  2. Continuous prayer in our churches throughout the period of the General Conference, from midnight April 21 to midnight May 4, 2012.
  3. To petition through the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters for Annual Conferences in Africa to continue their contributions to the General Church budget in the 2013-2016 quadrennial, until the appropriate formula can be applied by GCFA for African Annual Conferences to pay apportionments beginning the 2017-2020 quadrennium.
  4. That the Holy Bible is the primary authority for African churches on issues of social concerns and ordination.
  5. To explore the possibility for exchanges for leadership training, missionary services, theological education, and other ministries in and amongst our Annual Conferences.
Engage in prayer, reflection
As you help to cover General Conference with prayer (http://50daysofprayer.upperroom.org), we invite you to add Bishop Robert Schnase's series of 30 daily blogs, "Remember the Future" (at www.ministrymatters.com/30Days), to your prayerful preparation for this significant event. 
The daily blogs run about 800-1200 words, and are on such diverse topics as leadership, institutional challenges, and Wesleyan beliefs. Several of the blogs through the series include video clips; all include Scripture and recommendations for additional readings, for those who want to know more.
Here's a sample:
In "Changing Lives" (Day 15), Schnase writes, "Many of our churches still operate on assumptions from a previous era, and they hold to strategies that no longer work. We expect good Christians to move into our communities, visit our Sunday services, and want to join. But most people around us are seeking something other than membership; they are seeking authentic community, profound purpose, a deeper spirituality, and ways to make a difference with their lives. They are seeking the changed life that comes through belonging to Christ.
"The Call to Action invites us to intentionally focus on the mission and impact of our local church ministries. Intentional means having a plan in mind. It refers to our determination to having a purpose to what we do and to developing the right strategies to support the purpose. Intentional derives from Latin words meaning to stretch out for, to aim at. Intentional ratchets up commitment and consistency of effort."
Watch 2 min. 47 sec. introductory video at right, and just below it, Bishop Schnase's down-to-earth explanation of what the Call to Action is all about (runs 6 min. 8 sec).