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2007 Switzerland/France Annual Conference

June 7-10, 2007, Zofingen, Switzerland

The Annual Conference of Switzerland/France/North Africa met in Zofingen, Switzerland, around a theme that was an invitation to meet other people. This invitation had important implications on conference programs, as these encounters were not only to take place among conference members but also "outside of the church walls."

June 7-8 were the busy working days for regular conference business. One of the most important issues was approving a United Methodist Church profile that was developed in conference-wide meetings and discussions over the past 15 months. The profile should help local churches to better respond to God's calling and to share the Gospel with people in their neighborhoods.

Two women were ordained elders, and the ordination, which a pastor received in the Lutheran Church in Germany, was recognized. The Rev. Martin Streit was appointed to serve as new superintendent of the North-Western District in Switzerland, succeeding the Rev. Walter Wilhelm.

The Rev. Marc Nussbaumer and Stefan Ilg were elected as delegates to the 2008 General Conference.

On the weekend, a huge festival was organized by the United Methodist Church in Zofingen, the host congregation, and by Methodists from many local churches all over Switzerland. There were concerts, pleasure grounds, restaurants, a marketplace, lectures, cultural exhibitions, meditations, a theater and worship services. The aim was to invite the people of the region-regardless of their relationship with any church-to a special, colorful festival where they could eat, drink and have fun, but where they also were invited by a variety of program items to think about important issues such as health, money, power, sexuality, life and death.

The organizing team hoped that in all these activities, many people would be blessed and challenged, and that many people would hear the voice of God and dare to respond by taking steps towards a future with Christ.

The 2008 Annual Conference meeting will be June 26-29, 2008, in Basel/St. Chrischona.

On the occasion of the European Football Championship 2008, the United Methodist Church in Central and Southern Europe will organize a European Methodist Football tournament. This will be part of the annual conference, and the final game will take place just prior to the ordination service.

-Urs Schweizer