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2007 South Germany Annual Conference

June 20-24, 2007, Öhringen und Böblingen

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner presided over the fifth South German Annual Conference under the theme "I depend on it! Nothing can separate us from the love of God." The theme fit well with one of the conference's most widely discussed topics: Pastoral salary and ensuring a secure pension fund for the next generations. The conference decided to raise pastor salaries by 2 percent next year while contemplating various measures to shore up the pension fund. The conference will inform churches of the situation, and several ideas for fundraising were proposed and will be followed up in the coming months.

The pilot project of founding a special church for young people, which was given a green light at the last conference, will begin in 2008. The church will be located in Karlsruhe.

In other business, the conference determined membership of the various committees for the next four years. Elected as delegates to the 2008 General Conference are: the Rev. Harald Rückert (clergy) and Christine Flick (lay).

The conference theme was reflected at the ordination service in Böblingen by Bishop Wenner who preached on Matthew 6:25-34 (Jesus' command not to worry about the future) and God's promise to continue caring for his creation. During a time when United Methodist churches are losing numbers and are financially challenged, delegates found it comforting to be reminded that whoever puts God's kingdom first can face the future with confidence and hope.

The conference honored one retiring minister and ordained five people (1 female and 4 male) as ministers.

Membership of the conference stands at 17,798, down 307, or 1.7 percent. The number of baptized members in the new conference stands at 13,681.

-Jonathan Whitlock