"Testify to Love. Do All The Good You Can!" Annual Conference Session 2018
Collects more than $80,000 for relief efforts of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico
*By Dr. Larry R. Hygh, Jr.
Addressing more than 1,000 attendees, San Francisco Episcopal Area Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño told the 170th session of the California-Nevada Annual Conference: "I believe that God is also showing us that as a conference of The United Methodist Church we have the capacity and ability to be leaders in the church and in the world. Throughout the years, the people called Methodists have gone where God has led us. We have been a fearless bunch who for the sake of the Gospel have been willing to commit our lives to serving in the world.”
This year’s theme was “Testify to Love. Do All the Good You Can!” and this was the first year the conference met in Modesto, California.
Morning meditations were led by the Rev. Marlon Hall. He describes himself as a griot (a member of a class of traveling poets, musicians, and storytellers who maintain a tradition of oral history in parts of West Africa) who enjoys telling stories using photography, anthropology, filmmaking, and writing to share stories of love, imagination, and passion. Hall is the cultural architect and spiritual leader of The Awakenings Movement, a grassroots community of social visionaries and culture shapers in Houston, Detroit, and Nairobi.
Hall challenged those gathered to ask themselves, “What’s your why? Your why will inform your what’s next.” He added, “We have to unearth beauty from brokenness. This is our work. We can only unearth beauty from our brokenness by remembering our why.”
The Advance of the General Board of Global Ministries awarded the Conference three awards for being one of the top 10 annual conferences in the following areas: Supporters of International Disaster Response, Supporters of Mission Initiatives, and Supporters of Missionaries.
In other action, some of the legislation the conference passed included:
- a resolution on Black Lives Matter;
- a resolution in support of a clean Dream Act;
- a resolution in support of justice for Jerome Abba;
- a resolution opposing the separation of immigrant children from their parents; and
- establishment of a Filipino-American ministries committee.
The conference passed a budget of $6,476,000 for mission and ministry for 2019, a less than one percent increase from 2018, and renewed its commitment to continuing paying 100 percent of general church apportionments.
The Annual Conference offering benefited the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico in its efforts to rebuild the island. Churches were asked to collect an offering before the session and bring the offering to the opening communion service. More than $80,000 was collected for this offering.
Other offerings were taken for the following:
- Necessitous Fund Offering $4,838; and,
- Strength for Service $2,006.
Bishop Carcaño was the preacher for the ordination service preaching from Luke 10:1-9. “I would invite you, clergy and laity, to be present and attentive to the places and the persons God send us to. Your primary work is to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is here…There is only one remedy for the malaise that we experience, and that is to surrender to Christ Jesus.” She continued in a tradition of washing the feet of the newly ordained. Seven elders in full connection were ordained, three provisional elders, and two provisional deacons were commissioned on Friday evening.
Jay Parr III
Alyss Marie Swanson
Thirty-one clergy and spouses who died in the past year were remembered during a memorial service. The Rev. Linda Caldwell, Conference Superintendent for Mission Collaboration, was the preacher for the Memorial Service. Preaching from Galatians 2:19b- 20 with the sermon title, "Christ Lives In Me," Caldwell said, “They moved forward in life not depending on their own cleverness, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. That same power is available to us as we move forward in our own lives.”
Raymond Ralph Fellersen
J. Donald Hougland
Eleanor Ruth Patton
Celia Pangan Rodriquez
Mary Helen Thomas
Twenty-four clergy retired, representing more than 672 years of service.
Donna Van Maanen
Florence Faith Whitmore
Membership stands at 71,004, down 1,262 from the previous year.
Worship attendance stands at 27,622, down 1,285.
Church school attendance stands at 5,986, up 16.
Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2017 is 1,246, down 66 from 2016.
Adults and young adults in small groups for 2017 is 17,591, down 1,708 from 2016.
Worshippers engaged in mission for 2017 is 24,305, up 392 from 2016.
- Pete and Deb Bein, Yreka UMC
- Arlette Flores, UMC of Merced
- Richard Fong, Chinese Community UMC, Oakland
- Pat Ravicz, Novato UMC
Bishop Melvin G. Talbert Award:
Rev. Barbara Horikoshi-Firebaugh
Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. Award:
Rev. Linda Caldwell
Retired Clergy Association Scholarship:
- Randal Bolen
- Jeffrey Holder
- Greg Vang
One Matters Award from the General Board of Discipleship:
Hope United Methodist Church, South San Francisco
Next year's annual conference session will again be held in Modesto, California at the Convention Center.
*Hygh is director of communications for the California-Nevada Annual Conference which is comprised of 370 congregations in Northern California and Northern Nevada.