June 30, 2022 | by JB Brayfindley,Selby Ewing
The 174th California-Nevada Annual Conference Session of The United Methodist Church met via online Legislative Section, May 20, 2022; and in-person Plenary, Clergy, and Laity sessions and several opportunities for worship from June 10-13, 2022, at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento, California.
The theme was “Let Love Be …” from Romans 12. As part of the Western Jurisdiction coordinated effort, the conference collected an offering to support the Tongan Relief efforts to rebuild the island nation after the January volcanic eruption and tsunami.
Friday June 10th
The Rev. Dale Weatherspoon gave message during Opening Worship.. After singing “Lord Prepare Me to Be a Sanctuary,” he spoke of Paul reminding us that we are called to place our bodies as a living sacrifice in total allegiance to God.
Interim Bishop Sally Dyck introduced former California-Nevada resident Bishop Warren H. Brown, Jr., who will preside over the conference on Monday in Bishop Dyck’s absence as she is called to another meeting in her role as Ecumenical Officer on June 13th.
Director of Connectional Ministries Rev. Jorge Domingues gave an invitation for offering. He talked about the Tongan relief effort following the destructive volcano eruption on January 15th of this year. Today there is a special offering that will go to the this relief effort.
In her episcopal address Bishop Dyck offered scripture from Psalms as examples of hope in the Old Testament, stating that the root translation of the word hope is “intentional and deliberate focus.” She encouraged those gathered to focus on God, to do a good deed to restore hope, to do your job as you encourage and impower others to do theirs. She called the group to stay focused on the mission of the church and lifting up Romans 12 she emphasized the importance of supporting one another in our shared work of mission
The general and jurisdictional delegation report was presented by Micheal Pope, Jeffrey Kuan and Emily Allen. The new vision and process for selecting episcopal leaders in the Western Jurisdiction was shared. The group explained that the new process offers an opportunity to widen the net in the selection process by adding a discernment process for potential candidates.
In the afternoon laity and clergy met in a joint session before going to their separate meetings. Rebecca Simon-Peter, author of Forging a New Path joined the gathering by zoom and led a 30 minute presentation for the group.
Raul Alegria, interim director of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry presented the Lay Missioner class of more than 35 participants, bigger than any class across our denomination.
The Retired Clergy Association presented Memorial Scholarships in the amount of $1,600 to certified candidates. Those receiving the scholarship award included Tara Macy of Shasta Lake UMC; Alison Maki of Fall River Mills; and Vaitafa Heimolana of Holy Cross UMC, Stockton. The $6,025 scholarship fund in memory of Rev. Jane Schlager of was awarded to April Sousa of Church of the Joyful Healer UMC in McKinleyville, CA.
Conference Lay Leader Micheal Pope led the Laity session which included reports from the conference UWF, UMM, and district lay leader reports. A new Lay Leadership Award was presented to Kandi Wieder for her service.
While the laity met, the clergy convened and Interim Bishop Sally Dyck called the Clergy Session to order. The group heard reports and cared for the work of approving clergy rosters.
Saturday June 11th
The morning plenary began with the first of two bible studies led by the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Kuan, followed by the Board of Ordained Ministry report introduced by the Rev. Jeffrey Hall. Clergy were recognized as licensed local pastors, associate members, provisional members, deacons in full connection and elders in full connection.
Harold Caudle and Diane Knudsen offered the report of the Conference Board of Trustees and outlined the terms for church disaffiliation. Rev. Kristin Stoneking presented the CFA report and budget, which included a new program staffing structure. Rev. Beth Cademartori presented the legislative section report. Rev. Tikiko Lesuma presented Item 8, recommended by the Core team which deals with a conference wide local church shared facility policy.
The Memorial Service took place Saturday afternoon. Many family members were able to attend the service honoring their loved ones and have fellowship with conference members, visitors and guests after the service.
Sunday June 12th
The Ordering of the Ministry service began the day and churches across California-Nevada joined the service via live stream. Bishop Sally Dyck offered an encouraging and empowering message that compared ministry to riding a donkey. “Ministry has some things in common with donkeys—play with me here. The donkey is the metaphor for following the direction of God …riding the donkey is for everyone who wants to follow Jesus! ALL are called to the service of ALL! … Ride the donkey!”
The Core Team used a conversational style presentation to share the Mission Focus Areas committees' activities and included time for Q & A. As approved by the 2021 ACS, the Committee on Native American Ministries CONAM presented an interim report of their findings of the impact of Methodist involvement in Indian missions and Indian schools on Native Americans in California-Nevada. Pastor Iunisi Tovo of Forestville and Sebastopol UMC presented the report of the Commission on Religion and Race.
Bishop Sally Dyck presented certificates to Rev. Becky Goodwin, Rev. Akiko Miyake-Stoner of Clovis United Japanese Christian UMC and Roxanne Bucaria of Florin UMC who attended the Council of Bishops 2022 National Workshop on Christian Unity and United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training.
Monday June 13th
The day began with the second bible study led by Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan.
The Conference Claimants Endowment Board presented a gift of 2 million dollars to the Board of Pension and $106,000 to Retired Clergy Association. These funds will enable the RCA to provide much needed healthcare subsidies, pensions, and programs to support our retired pastors and their spouses. Click here for more information.
Youth and Young Adult Conference delegation members were recognized during the plenary. YYA delegation co-host Ryland Fernandez stated “Now is the time to meet our young people where they are. Can we help them see that hope?”
The following individuals accepted the invitation to enter into a time of discernment regarding their possible candidacy for the episcopacy: Bener Agtarap; Myrna Bernadel-Huey; Elizabeth Brick; Blake Busick; Staci Current; Jorge Domingues; George Edd-Bennett; Renae Extrum-Fernandez; Shinya Goto; Samuel Hong; Theon Johnson III; Jeffrey Kuan; Ella Luna-Garza; Kim Montenegro; David Niu; Matthew Pearson; Kristen Stoneking; Dale Weatherspoon; Ouk-Yean Kim-Jueng.
Budget & offerings
The conference passed a spending budget of $8,795.051 for mission and ministry for 2023. The amount includes funding from the conference tithing and from other designated sources including $ 2,941,857. The conference paid 100% of apportionments. And renewed its commitment to continue paying 100 percent of general church apportionments.
The Annual Conference offering was dedicated to the Tongan Relief Efforts. Total amount received $36,379.Other offerings were taken for the following: the Necessitous Grant Fund Offering of $3,221 and the Ministerial Education Fund $2,635
Membership stands at 49,759 down 15,916 from the previous year. (13,096 members were removed by correction as a result of the closure of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church.)
Worship attendance stands at 13,300 down 6,943 from the previous year.
Church school attendance stands at 4,288, down 419 from the previous year.
The number of participants in Vacation Bible School was 1,853, an increase of 488 over the previous year.
Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2021 is 562, up 200 from 2020
Received this year on Profession of Faith through confirmation = 214 (+81).
Received this year on Profession of Faith other than confirmation = 217 (+34)
Membership restored by Affirmation of Faith = 131 (+85)
The number of persons baptized in 2021 was 283 (190 ages 0-12; 93 age 13 and older), up 146 from 2020.
Worshippers engaged in mission for 2021 was 11,558, down 1,394 from 2020.