Circuit leaders from each of the 5 California-Nevada conference districts gathered at Asbury UMC in Livermore, CA for a time of training and fellowship. The conference covers a wide geographic region and this annual meeting is often the only time circuit leaders across all of the districts come together to worship, exchange ideas and strategize ways to support local churches in their regions.
Bishop Minerva Carcaño led the gathering in opening worship and selected the Matthew 4: 12-23 passage to set the tone for reflection. Bishop shared that in the time of Jesus, Galilee was a hub for travel out into other regions. As Jesus called the fishermen who would be disciples to come and follow him, we are also called. Just as Jesus' disciples left their baggage behind to begin their new journey, albeit their new lives, so must we leave our own baggage behind as we follow Jesus.
Bishop shared that with the connectivity afforded by today's technology, wherever we are could be considered a Galilee of sorts. We are now in a decisive moment and it is time for us to go out from Galilee and serve those in local churches in both spiritual and pragmatic ways.
During the gathering circuit leaders celebrated the California-Nevada 2019 Tithe Report which represented an increase in overall giving as compared with 2018 and met 100% apportionments for the third year in a row. Circuit leaders help share the message of where local tithe dollars support The United Methodist Church mission in districts, conferences and indeed around the world. Through The United Methodist Church connection, from churches of 25, 200 and 2,000 members make a difference.
Circuit leaders from each of the 5 districts shared snapshots of their work with local churches.
Local church vitality was discussed widely during sessions on best practices, accountability and measures, common challenges and strategies to meet those challenges, transforming them into new opportunities for clergy and laity. Circuit leaders across the conference experience a common call to be in mission with the local church and to support the work happening in these grass-root communities both on Sunday, and between Sundays.