This is a season for Conferencing in the United Methodist Church! Through the spring and summer of 2016 we will experience three major ‘conferences’ where key decisions are being made. You will remember that within our UM system the word ‘conference’ is actually used in two very distinct ways.
For example, when we talk about the Annual Conference, we are thinking about an actual meeting of folks who come together in a large gathering. But at the same time, when we say “Annual Conference” we are also identifying a geographic region. Our Rocky Mountain Annual Conference includes all of Colorado, all of Utah, and most of Wyoming.
I know you will remember our prayer support for the General Conference that took place May 10-20! And you will recall that our Annual Conference took place June 9-12. Now we are anticipating the meeting of our Jurisdictional Conference July 13-16 in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona.
Each Conference gathering has a unique purpose and focus. The General Conference is global in nature and makes decisions that impact the broadest issues of ministry, structure, and theology. The Jurisdictional Conference has specific responsibility for electing Bishops. And the Annual Conference is responsible for local mission and the support of individual congregations.
One of the primary things that happen at the Annual Conference level is the appointment of pastors. Each church in the region is assigned pastoral leadership by the Bishop and the Bishop’s Cabinet. It is one of the key functions that provides support and missional movement for congregations. At the close of each Annual Conference session, the Bishop has responsibility for reading the pastoral appointments as a way of formally ‘setting’ the place where individual pastors will serve.
This year, at the close of the ordination service, Bishop Stanovsky read the names of Cody Anderson and Randy Jessen to serve the Parker United Methodist Church. She likewise read the name of Pat Bell to serve the Tapestry United Methodist Church. From a very personal point of view, I am excited and blessed by that decision! It is a joy to serve the Parker based faith community!
The congregation has been moving forward for over 100 years. Step by step, year by year, person by person…ministry happens. It is a privilege to walk in a path that has been well traveled and remarkably fruitful for so many years. At the same time, it is very exciting to look at the future. The days ahead are bright and filled with great promise. Our task it to stay in alinement with the promise of God and to respond to the continued invitation to grow as disciples of our Lord.
The invitation for growth comes to us in a very personal way. It also arrives as a challenge to us as the Body of Christ. The call includes our mission outreach, our engagement with Scripture, our investment in prayer, our charge to engage issues of justice, as well as the task of seeing our lives connected deeply to the love of God and intensely related to our local and global neighbors.
These are good days! I pray that the summer season will be filled with opportunities to worship with joy, share your life with passion, and discover the renewing gift of grace in your life. The Lord bless you all!
In Christ, Randy Jessen