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2007 California-Pacific Annual Conference

June 20-24, 2007, Redlands, Calif.

Clergy and lay members from 390 churches met for the 23rd session of the California-Pacific Annual Conference at the University of Redlands under the theme "To Be the Cup Overflowing with Peace."

The California-Pacific Conference was created out of the Pacific and Southwest annual conferences. This marked the 38th conference session since the creation of The United Methodist Church in 1968 and the 156th session since the organization of The Pacific Conference in 1851, the oldest of the merging annual conferences.

During opening worship, Bishop Mary Ann Swenson challenged members to "serve their zip code with their Wesleyan code." She stated, "I can't tell you what to do specifically because I don't live where you live." Instead, "It is your job to find the poor and be in community, in your community with them."

During the five days of holy conferencing, members worshiped, studied together, heard reports from committees and agencies of the annual conference and witnessed the ordination of seven elders and one deacon, the commissioning of 12 probationers and the baptism of two babies. They elected five General Conference and five Jurisdictional Conference delegates. Throughout the session, the gathering celebrated the Methodist Federation for Social Action's (MFSA) 100th birthday.

Bible study was led by the Rev. Bruce C. Birch, dean and Woodrow W. and Mildred B. Miller Professor of Biblical Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington. Conference worship leader was Jorge A. Lockward, global praise program coordinator for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Bishop Robert Tsugio Hoshibata of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference preached the ordination service. The Rev. Phillip Lawson, interfaith program director for the East Bay Housing Organization and interim pastor at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco, preached for the memorial and communion service.

In celebration of the approaching 60th birthday of Bishop Swenson on July 8, churches across the conference collected gifts in increments of 60 to help people in need. A few of the gifts included 60 tools to do hurricane recovery work on the Gulf Coast, 60 child immunizations and 60 bed nets for the "Nothing But Nets" anti-malaria campaign.

Lay delegates elected to the 2008 General Conference are: Ken Ellis, North Hollywood; Larry Hygh, Jr., Pasadena; JoAnn Yoon Fukumoto, Pearl City, Hawaii; Dan Gara, Monrovia; and Mele Maka, Moorepark.

Clergy delegates elected to General Conference are: Molly Vetter, San Diego; Bau Dang, San Diego; Grant Hagiya, Los Angeles; Mary Elizabeth Moore, Atlanta; and Patricia Farris, Santa Monica.

Lay delegates elected to the Western Jurisdictional Conference are: Marjorie Suchocki, Claremont; Eva Thai, Evanston, Ill.; Norma Kehrberg, Honolulu; Leah Switzer, Burbank; and Ana-Haydee Urda, Los Angeles.

Clergy delegates elected to the Western Jurisdictional Conference are: Frank Wulf, Los Angeles; Cedrick Bridgeforth, Los Angeles; Mark Ulrickson, Santa Ana; Lily M. Villamin, Fontana; and Woong-Min Kim, Honolulu. The head of the delegation is Molly Vetter.

In legislative action, conference members adopted four strategic initiatives to:

  • Establish a Center for Leadership Excellence in partnership with the Claremont School of Theology;
  • Renew and reshape youth and young adult ministries through a director of development for young people;
  • Develop a leadership incentive to provide funding and oversight to congregations and ministries to expand existing or establish new positions for fostering the development of younger clergy; and
  • Develop an initiative that would provide funding for district-based congregational coaches and community developers to provide congregation- and community-specific guidance and resources in both revitalization and the formation of new ministries.

Conference members adopted a budget of $12,807,938 for 2008, an increase of 2.9 percent.

Offerings totaling $22,252 were collected for the following:

  • Global AIDS, $4,835.84
  • Sierra Service Project, $3,154
  • Philippines Mission, $2,417
  • Nothing But Nets and Invisible Youth, $3,362
  • African Students, $3,282 and
  • Hurricane Katrina, $5,199

Sixteen pastors, representing more than 365 years of ministry, retired this year. They were recognized during the conference's annual retirement service.

Membership stands at 87,300, down 1,365 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 50,816, down 1,855. Church school attendance stands at 22,103, down 1,313.

-Larry Hygh Jr.