May 12 wrap-up: Rule 44 voted down

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Over the past three days, the United Methodist General Conference has offered a live demonstration of just how difficult following its rules of order can be. Delegates ultimately decided against a proposed Group Discernment Process that has dominated proceedings. In other news, one bishop “passes the gavel” and another will have to go under the knife after a nasty fall on Day One. Joey Butler has the story. Read story and post a comment

May 11 wrap-up: Episcopal address, more Rule 44 debate

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — A day after the celebratory tone of opening worship came a reminder that General Conference is one big, long meeting. As delegates got down to business, debate over one of the Rules of Order will stretch into a third day while the episcopal address urged United Methodists to “trust God and go.”? Joey Butler has the story. Read story and post a comment  

Palmer: Trust God’s promise and go forth

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Bishop Gregory V. Palmer laid out a path for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference: humility, humility, humility. “Everyone here is a child of God. Any behavior to the contrary of that truth undermines the gospel and is a choice to live beneath our privilege,” Palmer said in the episcopal address on May 11. Kathy L. Gilbert reports. Read story and post a comment  

Vigil remembers 35 million who died from AIDS

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — In a response of love and prayer, the 35 million people who have died of AIDS were remembered in a vigil outside the Oregon Convention Center as the 2016 General Conference meets to decide church law for the next four years. “We live in a world with 38 million people who are living with AIDS and 35 million who have died,” said retired Bishop Albert Frederick Fritz Mutti. “Too much of the world ignores this pandemic.” Kathy L. Gilbert reports. Read story and post a comment...

General Conference 2016 officially begins

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Joining in a cacophony of “alleluias” in many languages, 864 United Methodist delegates gathered May 10 at the Oregon Convention Center for the 2016 General Conference. In his opening sermon, San Francisco Area Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. challenged the assembly to remember Paul’s words to the Romans to “build each other up.” Barbara Dunlap-Berg reports. Read story and post a comment See UMNS slideshow  

May 10 wrap-up: Opening worship, rules debate

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — With a drum welcome from indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, United Methodists gathered for the opening worship of 2016 General Conference, the top legislative body of the denomination. Meeting May 10-20, the 864 delegates will consider 1,000 petitions affecting the 12.3 million-member denomination. Read story

Spirit of the Living God Fall Fresh Upon Us

By Rev. Jeffrey Kuan   The 2016 General Conference officially began with worship. I appreciate the care with which the Rev. Laura Bartlett and her team worked to put together an amazing worship to reflect the inclusive love of God and paying due respect to the Native Americans whose land we now live on. Our own Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. preached a powerful sermon with the title, “Jesus, We Are Here for You,” calling us United Methodists to go and live out the radically inclusive love that ...

111 clergy, clergy candidates come out as gay

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — On the eve of the 2016 General Conference, 111 United Methodist clergy and clergy candidates have come out as LGBTQ religious leaders. Among the signers are delegates at the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly. Heather Hahn reports. Read story and post a comment  

Allen Elected Secretary of Committee

California-Nevada Conference delegate Emily Allen was elected secretary of the Committee on Agenda and Calendar.

Brown gives final address as bishops’ leader

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — In his final address as Council of Bishops president, Bishop Warner Brown Jr. testified to God’s transforming power, including in race relations. Brown spoke just days before the start of the 2016 General Conference, where many United Methodists are hoping to change the denomination in various ways. Heather Hahn reports. Read story and post a comment  

Council of Bishops Adopts Covenant of Accountability

Portland, Oregon: Meeting in Portland, Oregon, the Council of Bishops voted to adopt a “Covenant of Accountability for the Council of Bishops” and pledged to hold one another accountable for living according to the agreement while seeking the support and prayers of the entire church. The announcement comes on the eve of the quadrennial legislative meeting of The United Methodist Church. (Read more)  

Delegation on the Plenary Floor

The California-Nevada Conference Delegation on the plenary floor of General Conference 2016. From left to right, Randall Miller, Rev. Jeffrey Kuan, Emily Allen, Rev. Greg Bergquist, Rev. Karen Oliveto, and Burt Yin.

Prepared to Witness

By Emily Allen   Our last California-Nevada delegation meeting before General Conference was a week ago Saturday, and as I left the meeting I felt incredibly positive and prepared for General Conference. But as the week went on and General Conference drew closer, I started thinking of all of the additional things I could have read, studied, researched, debated, strategized, and prepared before I came. I had to remind myself that some of the best moments at General Conference in 2012, some of the...

Bishop Brown to Preach for Opening Worship and Holy Communion Service

Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., California-Nevada Conference Bishop and President of the Council of Bishops, will preach for the General Conference Opening Worship and Holy Communion Service on Tuesday, May 10, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. To view the live stream, click here.  

Hey, Those Methodists Have Ubuntu

By Rev. Greg Bergquist   When I think of my hopes, dreams, and prayers for General Conference, I am reminded of the words of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in his memoir No Future without Forgiveness (pp. 31-32), as he tries to render the African concept of “Ubuntu” into a Western language. Tutu says, “It speaks of the very essence of being human. When we want to give high praise to someone we say, ‘Yu, u nobuntu’; ‘Hey, so-and-so has ubuntu.’ Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are ...

Standing in a Place of Paradox

By Dr. Randall Miller   “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:14-15)   Last Saturday, at the final California-Nevada Delegation meeting prior to our departure for the 2016 General Conference, I led a morning devotion focused on the power of paradoxes. According to Webster Dictionary, a paradox is “something (such as a ...

166th Session of the Cal-Nevada Annual Conference

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   I greet you during this Easter season in the name of Jesus the Risen Christ. It's hard to believe, but the 166th session of our California-Nevada Annual Conference is fast approaching. We will gather in a new location at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Burlingame from June 18 to 21. This year our theme will be "The Power of With: Building the Beloved Community" and focuses on one of the denomination's four areas of focus, engaging in ministry with the poor.   ...

World Malaria Day

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   I greet you this Easter Season in the name of Jesus the resurrected, and life giving, Christ.  This week, I hear the angel's instructions to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary in Matthew's account of the resurrection, "Go quickly and tell his disciples he has been raised from the dead."  I'm reminded that we are Easter people and this is still our calling to run from the tomb and tell the timeless resurrection story to all the people we can and in every way ...

Cambodia Eyeglasses Team

A United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) team is in Cambodia until the 28th. This team joins with a local Methodist church in Svay Reing to hold an eye glasses distribution project. This project is the gift to the local community for those most in need. Professional training to all team members was provided by Optometrist Joanne Van Bezey, O.D., who will also be on the team. The team is being led by Phil Bandy, California-Nevada Conference UMVIM director and veteran leader of multiple ...

Laywoman Gives $1.1 Million Gift to Malaria Initiative

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   Mother Teresa once said, “It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”    During last annual conference session the California-Nevada became actively involved in the United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria initiative. Working with other global partners, such as the United Nation’s Foundations, The Global Fund, World Health Organizations and others, the goal is to eradicate deaths from malaria on the continent of Africa. The United ...

Statement About School Shooting in Sparks, Nevada

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   The unthinkable has happened yet again, another school shooting, this time in our own annual conference at a middle school in Sparks, Nevada. At this time, the press is reporting two persons dead, a staff member, and the suspected shooter.  Two other students have also been injured.   My heart is heavy, and it grieves me every time I hear of the news of our children becoming the victims, and perpetrators of gun violence.  This senseless violence, that seems...

Renewal Leave

July 12, 2013  Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   With the excitement of annual conference just behind us and the work of the new quadrennium just getting up to speed this may seem like a strange time for me to be talking about renewal leave. But with all of the exciting work underway in the conference and the leadership expected of me in the local community and as President of the Council of Bishops (beginning next spring) this is the only opportunity I will have to take a break for rest ...

Prop 8 - DOMA Statement

June 26, 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection rights of some citizens. The Supreme Court also declined to consider the appeal of the federal court decision which upheld the California Supreme Court in determining Proposition 8 (Prop 8) unconstitutional. Prop 8 was a California voter approved initiative that outlawed ...

Reflections from China

June 7, 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   I am eagerly looking forward to seeing many of you during our yearly family reunion, the Annual Conference Session, in Sacramento less than two weeks from now. It has been a busy Pentecost season, and I have been blessed by the Spirit's activity in the lives of United Methodists working to transform the world in the name of the resurrected Christ. In recent weeks, I have spent time with the other active bishops in a retreat that included a trip...

Oklahoma Tornado Recovery

May 21, 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   Psalm 55 verse 22 says to "cast your burden upon the Lord, and God will sustain you; God will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Like you, I have been watching the devastation caused by tornadoes to our brothers and sisters in Oklahoma. At this time, more than 20 people have been found dead including several children.   The faithful United Methodists of the California-Nevada Annual Conference have always responded in love to people all ...

Boston Marathon Tragedy

April 16, 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   Just like you, I was shocked, saddened, and disturbed to see images coming out of Boston yesterday of our brothers and sisters in sheer panic after two bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon killing three people, including an eight-year-old boy, and wounding 176 people. Then, I awoke this morning to the news of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in southeast Iran where at least 40 people are feared dead.   On this day, as an Easter people, no ...

Season of Resurrection

  Warner H. Brown, Jr. Resident Bishop   April 12, 2013   Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   Greetings to you during this Easter season! This has been a season of tremendous blessings for me.   I spent Easter Sunday with the folks at Genesis United Methodist Church in Milpitas participating in the dedication of their new building. God's resurrection power was brought to life with a fellowship that began on Easter Sunday 1997 with the intentionality to become an Afrocentric congregation that...

An Acts 2 Model for Living Intentional Transformation

"At Saint Paul United Methodist Church of Fremont, transformation does not happen by accident. Recently having gone through a visioning and branding process, writes the Rev. Sun Hee Kim in this week's Vital Signs and Wonders blog, "we have come to understand ourselves as a church that centers all that it does on the three core values of INSPIRATION, INCARNATION and INTERSECTION. Through these values, we aim to live intentionally."   Read more about Sun Hee's model for living intentional ...

Midwive Leadership

Warner H. Brown, Jr. Resident Bishop March 8, 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: It is my prayer that you are praying, reflecting, and growing during this Lenten season.   A few weeks ago, I wrote about my experience with a leadership team from our California-Nevada Annual Conference during the quadrennial training at the beginning of the year in Nashville. We talked about adaptive leadership and our adaptive challenge in our various ministry settings. Several questions were explored...

What is the State of Your Soul?

In this week's blog post on the "Vital Signs and Wonders (VSW)" site, the Rev. Greg Bergquist, Conference Superintendent for Leadership Vitality, reflects on the purpose of the Wesleyan small group – asking "What is the state of your soul?" "I believe in small groups. But, understanding the importance of small group ministry in our faith communities is so much more than counting the number of small groups in a congregation, or how many unique persons are attending a small group,” he writes.   "I...

Repairing the Breach - Bom Jesus

Warner H. Brown, Jr. Resident Bishop Friday, February 8, 2013   Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent beginning a 40-day period of prayer and fasting leading us to the Resurrection. According to the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert before beginning his public ministry.   As you reflect and pray during this Lenten season I ask you to lift up a very special mission project. It is called "Building...

Professions of Faith

"I do not remember when I first said yes to God, but I know when I publicly professed my faith. It was Confirmation Sunday," writes the Rev. Kristie Olah, El Camino Real district superintendent, in this week's blog posting on the Vital Signs and Wonders blog site. "We Christians are inspired by each other's faith. Hearing and counting a profession of faith confirms for our churches that we are more than a club; we are more than a calendar full of programs and events," she continues. Read the ...

Adaptive Leadership

Warner H. Brown, Jr. Resident Bishop   Friday, February 1, 2013   Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   I recently attended the denomination's 2013 Quadrennial Training Event for Teams of Conference Leaders in Nashville. The event attracted more than 1,000 United Methodists from annual conferences across the United States and focused on learning and practicing skills for adaptive leadership and stories of adaptive learning. In addition to myself, there were 18 of your California-Nevada Annual ...

Vital Worship: My Thoughts, My Heresy, My Truth

The Rev. Steven Creel, pastor of Visalia United Methodist Church, reflects on his experiences over the years in this week's blog post, "Vital Worship: My Thoughts, My Heresy, My Truth" on the "Vital Signs and Wonders" (VSW) site. Read the Rev. Creel's post in its entirety here (or go to, and click on the "Vital Signs and Wonders" button under "Quick Links" on the right side of the home page). What "signs and wonders" are you seeing around your church? Visit VSW and join the ...

Actively Celebrating the Life of Dr. King

Warner H. Brown, Jr. Resident Bishop January 18, 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: We have recently celebrated the birth of the Prince of Peace and this Monday we will celebrate a great man of faith, a modern day prophet who challenged the status quo to work towards a non-violent society. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a harmonious society in which all men and women were created equally. I have also been reflecting on the fact that we are moving towards making Dr. ...

Advent 2012: A Joyful Season

  Warner H. Brown, Jr. Resident Bishop December 10, 2012 Dear Colleagues: Blessings to you this Advent season and may you enjoy a joyful celebration of the upcoming Christmastide!   As you're engaged in ministry during this Advent season, I am traveling on behalf of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church to preside at the Philippines Central Conference Session from December 6–18, 2012. At this meeting, bishops will be elected to serve in the Philippines for the next four years....

Fiji: Day Four

Tuesday, Sept. 26 Today is a work day. Now that I have seen samples of Fiji and the work of the Fiji Methodist church here from various angles, I now can begin to ponder the details of how we might proceed with our work together. Viri and I visit the Navuso Farm again, for more discussions with the staff. In the afternoon, the church officials are convened at the church center in Suva, and I am asked to present my findings and recommendations. The Bilateral Agreement between the ...

Fiji: Day Three

Monday, Sept. 25 Today, we visited the island village Qoma, located off the east coast of the main island, Viti Levu. The day started with devotions and Communion services at the Methodist Center in Suva, where Rev. Tevita joined Viri and me before Nemani drove us up the coast. As we traveled, I noted there were Methodist schools and churches everywhere.   Finally, at one large school, we pulled in and drove past all the dormitories and the rugby fields right down to the beach, where we were ...

Fiji: Day Two

Saturday, Sept. 23 Today, the agenda is to visit the interior of the country, the village of Navuniyaro. As we make our way into the hills, the spectacular trees and plants and rivers and villages are a continuous collage of postcard images – complete with all the other sensory experiences, with the birdcalls and heavy smells of millions of flowers. People wave as we pass, and we pause for puppies and children and farmers, and to buy bananas. In the way that children at home sell lemonade in the...

Fiji: Day One

Friday, Sept 22*   I was welcomed to Fiji at the Nausori airport by my good friend Virisila Batiratu, and whisked away to meet with the waiting church officials of the Methodist Church in Fiji. We are meeting at the training center and farm in the village of Navuso, and on the way there, I observed that the lush green countryside is even more beautiful than when I looked down on it from the air a few minutes before.   After a quick stop at the market to buy my required gift of kava roots, we ...

Making Space for Grace

When I spoke to you in my Communion Service message at this year's Annual Conference Session, I talked about the excuses we make to ourselves to justify our attitudes and behavior. We have a way of rationalizing under the guise that "we have a right." What we're really saying is that we "have a right" to be less than who Christ calls us to be. We have a human understanding of what is "right" and "proper," and "just" and "fair," but human standards are not always aligned with God's standards. God...

Reflections after Day One in Angola: Morning of July 10, 2012

Joel Bulaya and I completed our first meetings Monday, to help us understand the plans of the Angola Methodist church for the Malaria net distribution here later (this fall). The clinic where the distribution is planned will need repairs before the distribution can take place. Making these repairs is our main goal for this trip here. I am sitting now in the library of the Methodist University in Luanda, where the Conference office is located, but Joel and I leave within the hour to travel to ...

Reflections on Day Two in Angola: Evening of July 10, 2012

Today we made it out to the Bom Jesus clinic. It was not until afternoon, because our host was caught in traffic to come get us and then we had to thread our way back out of the city. As we got farther out from downtown, the new highway was helpful. Construction is everywhere. They are very serious about catching up after the war years.    The clinic is on a hilltop at the edge of the savanna studded with large fat trees overlooking the valley of the Kwanza River. The river is blue in the ...

Watch Bishop Brown's "State of the Conference" Address

What's on Bishop Brown's mind? Through the video series, "Conversations with the Bishop," we're allowed to find out!   In this episode we offer the Bishop's State of the Conference Address, delivered to the 2012 Annual Conference Session.   Watch the "Bishop's State of the Conference Address" in its entirety here.   Or click on "REEL Witness – Video Library," the last link under "Areas of Interest" on the right side of the Conference website Home Page at "Conversations with the ...

Welcome to 164th Annual Conference Session

April 5, 2012     Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,   I look forward to greeting you as we gather together in Sacramento, June 20-23, to celebrate the 164th Session of our California-Nevada Annual Conference. This year our theme will be Be See DO what matters to God – GO! We will worship together under the leadership of The Rev. Dr. Lisa Allen, assistant professor of worship and music at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Our guest speakers are the Reverends Rudy and...

2012 Bishop's Award Guidelines

Warner H. Brown, Jr. Resident Bishop February 16, 2012   Dear Colleagues in Christ,   I am writing in celebration of the work and service of lay people within the California-Nevada Annual Conference.   One of the very special moments at Annual Conference is announcing the recipient of the Bishop’s Award. Each year I will seek to present this award to a layperson that has demonstrated outstanding service both in their local church and beyond the local church. Service beyond the local church may...

Advent: A Time of Beginning

Advent: A Time of Beginning At this time of year we are busily closing out our affairs for the year and anticipating the joyful festivities of Christmas.   But in the Christian tradition, the Advent season is a time of beginning. It begins with hope as we anticipate the coming of the Savior, incarnate in our lives and in our world. It is a time of joy as we recognize the blessings that surround us and the promise of the New Year that is about to unfold.   For some of us, those blessings may ...

An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude In this season of thankfulness, I have so many reasons to have an attitude of gratitude. First, I want to thank all of you who have congratulated me for my election as President-designate of the Council of Bishops. I will begin this responsibility during General Conference.   Let me clarify what this responsibility means. I want to assure you that these additional duties will not distract me from the major work we are doing together in Cal-Nevada.   As ...

A Letter from the Council of Bishops

Nov. 15, 2011   Dear Colleagues,   During this time of preparation for the 2012 General Conference, various issues of importance to us will draw our attention. As we share our hopes, our aspirations and our expectations for the Church and ourselves, I pray that we will do so in a spirit of Christian conferencing.   At our last meeting, the Council of Bishops issued this letter to the Church regarding one issue that has often resulted in hurt and division. I share that letter with you now. It ...

Rest and Renewal

Rest and Renewal I've heard people say, "I'll see you when I see you" when taking leave of each other. What I've heard myself say with reasonable frequency is, "You don't see me – I'm not here," when stopping by the office to pick up materials to work on during a supposed day off.   Some cultures understand the need for rest better than ours here in the United States, and incorporate naptime into the structure of their workdays. Here, we seem to regard a need for rest as a weakness: "I can sleep...

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