The 2017 Minnesota Annual Conference was held June 20-22 in St Cloud. Joining me in representing the Mora and Ogilvie Churches was Rusty Palmer from Ogilvie.
The theme of this year’s Annual Conference was “Encounter the Spirit: Live Expectantly!” We focused on what it means to be an Acts 2 church and to fully claim our identity as people of Pentecost—filled with the Holy Spirit and called out into the world to share our faith and be the presence of Christ to others. We explored the importance of being evangelistic disciples and sharing our stories with others—and just like the earliest followers of Jesus in Acts 2, we came together for teaching, breaking bread, fellowship, and prayer.
Wednesday morning the Bishop encouraged Minnesota United Methodists to live expectantly. Isn’t that a wonderful idea, to live expecting God to be at work in all we think do and say. Living expecting God to be out in front of us and preparing a way forward and for us to be looking for God in all we do.
Tuesday evening Rev. Junius B. Dotson, Discipleship Ministries’ general secretary talked about reordering our priorities and relentlessly focusing on making disciples. “You are a child of God,” Dotson said. “A lot of us aren’t first to share in our faith. It’s because we don’t remember who we are. Sharing the gospel has some risk—the risk of rejection, the risk of being made fun of, the risk of being called holier than thou…but letting people know that they matter to God…that is worth the risk.”
During Rev. Dotson’s Wednesday morning teaching he said churches must be intentional, innovative, relentless in their pursuit of the “why” of discipleship, and hopeful. “We should always be asking: What role does this activity, event, or program have in helping us make disciples?” he said.
At a Celebration of Life in Ministry worship service Wednesday night, nearly 1,000 Minnesota United Methodists gathered to remember 34 friends and colleagues who have died over the past year, to honor 20 retiring clergy, and to celebrate seven people being ordained, 10 being commissioned as provisional members, 12 newly licensed local pastors, one person being recognized as an associate member, and one person who completed the course of study for licensed local pastor. I was am honored to be one of the 12 newly licensed local pastors. To God be the glory!
As of the end of Annual Conference, $73,192 had been given to the 2017 Love Offering. This year’s Love Offering will go to the United Methodist University of Sierra Leone—School of Applied Health Sciences (60 percent), Emma Norton Services (30 percent), and Volunteers in Mission scholarships (10 percent).
The 2017 Annual Conference was a joy filled celebration of what it means to be a United Methodist. Rusty and I were honored to represent Mora and Ogilvie UMC’s.