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2009 Desert Southwest Annual Conference

Desert Southwest Annual Conference
June 24-28, 2009, Glendale, Ariz.

The Desert Southwest Annual Conference convened at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel and Spa under the leadership of Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño. This year, being the first year of a new quadrennium, saw the introduction of a quadrennial theme that is "Extravagant Hospitality&ellipsis; God's Abundant Grace!" The theme for the 2009 sesssion was "Preparing the Table," and it was announced that the conference theme for the next three years will be "Invited to the Table," "Sharing the Feast," and "Expanding the Table."

This year's theme was undergirded by M. Daniel Carroll, the conference's Bible study leader and R. A Professor of the Old Testament at Denver Seminary. He celebrates his heritage from both Guatemala and the United States and he helped the conference look at the issue of immigration from a biblical perspective, and asked the conference to look at how the table has been prepared for all of us, including the immigrant.

The annual conference was also blessed to receive Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer, president of the Council of Bishops, as the annual conference preacher. He gave the sermon at opening worship, the service of ordination, and closing worship. He also graced the annual conference by leading songs and by being present throughout.

This year was the 25th anniversary of the birth of The Desert Southwest Annual Conference and there were opportunities taken throughout session to celebrate. Speakers remembered where the Conference has been and looked at how that made the conference into what it is today. There was also time to cast a vision for the future. One of the most exciting moments of the celebration came when churches brought forth special offerings taken around the conference for starting new churches. The offerings were wrapped as birthday presents and received with great excitement. The total for this conference-wide offering was $80,989.00

Another moment of great excitement came when it was announced that The Desert Southwest Conference would have the first opportunity to sign a contract with Path One, the group responsible for the denominational plan to start new churches throughout the United States. This contract was an agreement to start a Lay Missioners Network, in which lay people will take key roles in starting new churches.

As usual, a key moment of celebration came with the service of ordination. This year saw the commissioning of one deacon, the ordination of two deacons in full connection, and the ordination of six elders in full connection. The ministries of four retiring elders, two retiring deacons, and one retiring local -pastor were also celebrated during ordination as the torch of ministry was passed. This service also provided an invitation to ministry that brought forward many people, including 10 young people.

The Annual Conference took time to examine a variety of resolutions brought forward by the Conference Board of Church and Society, the Conference Committee on Native American Ministries/The Conference Commission on Religion and Race, and The Conference Committee on Youth Ministries. The following resolutions were passed:

  • Resolution 21.10--Extravagant Hospitality
  • Resolution 21.15--Being in Ministry to All
  • Resolution 21.20--Being a Reconciling and Welcoming Conference
  • Resolution 21.25--Resolution on Human Sexuality
  • Resolution 21.30--Being in Solidarity with the Havasupai Tribe
  • Resolution 21.35--"Oasis Resolution" to lead homeless youth out of Homelessness&ellipsis;

More information on these resolutions can be found at

The annual conference also took the time to examine the 32 constitutional amendments brought by General Conference. All Amendments passed with the required two-thirds vote except Amendment VI, Amendment XV, Amendment XVII, and Amendment XIX. The full voting totals are available in the annual conference area of the conference Website. The totals will be added to the voting totals in all annual conferences to determine if the Constitutional Amendments will pass.

After much deliberation, the difficult decision was made by the annual conference to sell the assets of Pine Canyon Camp, and to cast a new vision for what camping ministry will look like in the South District (the area served by Pine Canyon Camp). This decision comes at the recommendation of the Board of Camping and a report created by the outside consulting firm Run River. The report is available at
Beyond the conference-wide offering for New Church Starts, the conference had three offering opportunities to worship through giving. The totals for those offerings were:

  • $2,616.51 for Youth Service Fund
  • $2,633.00 for Sierra Leone Nothing But Nets Project
  • $3,362.86 for Central Conference Pension Initiative

Much like the last 24 annual conferences, the 25th session of The Desert Southwest Annual Conference served as a time of worship, thankfulness, and celebration. Those attending were treated to the good news and were prepared to go home and share the story in their local churches and communities. As the time at annual conference drew to an end, there was a great spirit surrounding the body, reminding all in attendance that The Desert Southwest Conference is One in Christ, One with Each Other, and One in Ministry to all the world.

Membership stands at 40,082, down 3.2 percent from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 26,729, down 3.0 percent. Church school attendance stands at 11,977, down 11.1 percent.

-Stephen J. Hustedt