Clergy and Lay Members of the California-Nevada Conference of The United Methodist Church,
Grace and peace to you in the name of Christ, our Risen Lord! Your persevering, grace-filled servant leadership in a time of pandemic has been a blessing to many and an inspiration to my heart! Thanks be to God for each one of you!
I am so looking forward to our being together in-person for the majority of the 173rd Annual Session of our beloved Conference. We will gather in Sacramento, California at the city’s Convention Center at 1400 J St., Sacramento, CA 95814. The in-person part of our Session will begin at 9:00 a.m. on October 29, 2021. We will conclude our Session at 12 noon on October 31, 2021.
Our Commission on the Annual Conference Session, so very ably led by the Rev. Gary Pope-Sears, has labored diligently in the preparations for our Session and continues to work on your behalf. Their work is truly year-round, and they do it with joy and deep commitment. Join me in thanking them even now.
One of the things the Commission is very thoughtful about in its work is evaluating what we learn year by year about how to best prepare for a fruitful time of Christian Conferencing.
One of the things that you have said to us through your evaluations and other comments is that you found our virtual Session last September helpful and well done. You have encouraged us to continue using the gifts of technology for our Annual Session.
We have taken your evaluative comments to heart and I am pleased to share with you that we will begin the work of our 173rd Annual Session on June 26th and 27th, 2021 with a virtual Clergy Session on June 26th from 9:00 a.m. – 12 Noon, and a Service of Ordination, Commissioning, Licensing and Recognition of Orders on June 27th from 10 a.m. – 12 Noon. While only the clergy and the lay members of the Board of Ordained Ministry are authorized and required to attend the Clergy Session, all members of the Annual Conference Session, lay and clergy, are required to attend the Service on June 27th. The Service of Ordination, Commissioning, Licensing and Recognition of Orders is a primary Service of the Annual Session of our Conference. This year we will prayerfully incorporate the report of the Board of Ordained Ministry and the asking of the Historic Questions of those to be Ordained into this Service. All the churches of our Conference will be invited to join together in this very special Service in the life of the Conference.
During the Clergy Session we will have a time to break out into gatherings of the Order of Elders, Order of Deacons and the Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members for the election of the chairs of these bodies. By our Book of Discipline, the Board of Ordained Ministry nominates the chairs of the Orders and the Fellowship, but each body is given the authority to elect its own chair for the quadrennium.
I am pleased to also announce that our Annual Session Legislative Sections will be convened virtually as well in September. Specific dates for these virtual gatherings will be coming to you soon.
Our Conference staff in consultation with the Commission on the Annual Conference Session has worked hard to simplify registration for this year’s Session. Our Communications staff is working closely with GNTV in preparing to assist us to have a seamless hybrid Annual Session. We are saddened to say that we are not yet able to provide a safe environment for our children at the Annual Session but are pleased to inform you that as we did at our last Annual Session, virtual, fun, learning opportunities will be provided for all the children of our Conference.
Finally, we will be gathering under the theme:
“¡P R E S E N T E!” based on Jeremiah 29:7
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf,
for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
I commend to you the article on the theme that comes to you with this call to Session and invite you to begin to pray about what being present for the communities where we are called to serve looks like when we consider how God calls us to be present. The article is available here.
What a privilege it is to serve in faith and hope with all of you! I look forward to being with you and working with you as we come before God as we gather for the 173rd Annual Session of the California-Nevada Conference and come before God with the fruit of our labor!
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño