California-Nevada Annual Conference Summary Report
June 27, 2013
By Dr. Larry R. Hygh, Jr., Director of Communications
The California-Nevada Annual Conference met June 19 to 22, 2013 at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, Calif. with the theme "See What You Have: See Your Neighbors Too."
Addressing more than 1,000 attendees, Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. challenged the 165th session of the California-Nevada Annual Conference from the tenth chapter of Luke, the story of the good Samaritan, asking, "who is our neighbor?" Bishop Brown said that God is continually at work through God's people called United Methodists all across the California-Nevada Annual Conference bringing good news and the resources that are available. "God is at work and our neighbors are in urban settings, the mountains and the deserts, the fields and the forests, the bay and in the ocean," he said. "We have as much training as the first disciples."
Prior to this year's conference, in February, Bishop Brown challenged churches across the annual conference to raise $50,000 for a mission offering to be collected during the annual conference session for a campaign called "Build a Bridge of Love to Angola." The offering will be used to rebuild a health clinic in Bom Jesus, Angola. More than $30,000 was donated. United Methodist Volunteer In Mission (UMVIM) teams from the conference will travel to Angola to aid in the reconstruction of the clinic.
Speakers this year included the Rev. Dr. Eric H. F. Law and the Rev. Dr. George E. "Tink" Tinker.
Law is director of the Kaleidoscope Institute and his presentation focused on "holy currencies." Law founded the institute to continue the ministry he started back in the late 80s when he began a theological and practical journey through the landscape of diversity. His focus has always been: as a Christian, how can he follow Christ's call to seek and serve Christ in every person and respect the dignity of every human being?
Tinker is a prominent American Indian theologian and scholar, and a professor of American Indian cultures and religious traditions at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colo. Tinker delivered an "Invitation to Prayer and Reflection" on the history and current relationship with Native People. Tinker's presentation prepared the annual conference for a year-long study leading to the 2014 annual conference session when an "acts of repentance" service for indigenous people will be held. Tinker said, "We've got to engage a healing process that can bring healing to all people who live on this continent."
The annual conference was led in worship by the Rev. Dr. Lisa Allen. Allen is an associate professor of worship and music at the Interdenominational Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Ga. An ordained elder in the North Georgia Conference, she teaches courses on Christian music and worship. She has a special interest in Womanist theology, African American spirituality, and worship, as well as worship and liturgy.
The annual conference session launched a conference-wide Imagine No Malaria Initiative to save 200,000 lives by raising $2 million over the next two years. A conference website has been set up to educate and track the endeavor, www.calnevimagine.org. The youth of the conference led the effort by raising $3,600 during the annual conference session.
A proposal to change the apportionment formula from the current formula to a tithe from each local church was brought forward from a tithing task force and passed almost unanimously.
All proposed constitutional amendments from the 2012 General Conference were affirmed.
Bishop Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, resident Bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference, was the preacher for the ordination service. He challenged those gathered, saying, "Nice is not enough…we must open our doors to those who are on the margins." He added, "Religion must not be concerned about mansions in the sky, but the slums and ghettos in the world." He is one of only three people of Korean descent to be elected Bishop in the United Methodist Church. Bishop Jung currently serves on the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), is the President of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the President of the Korean National Plan.
In what has become a tradition for the past several years, Bishop Brown washed the feet of the new commissioned ordinands. One deacon in full connection and two elders in full connection were ordained, one provisional deacon and two provisional elders were commissioned on Saturday afternoon. Eleven licensed local pastors were received as well as two elders from other full communion denominations.
Thirty-three clergy and spouses who died in the past year were remembered during a memorial service.
Nineteen clergy retired, representing more than 486 years of service; membership stands at 77,943, down 1015 from the previous year (as a direct result of 1,533 persons removed by charge conferences); worship attendance stands at 32,607, down 3307 from the previous year; church school attendance stands at 6,616, down 932 from the previous year; covenant discipleship groups stand at 3,913, up 489 from the previous year; Christian formation groups stand at 28,923, up 467 from the previous year; and the number of persons baptized 824, down 68 from the previous year.