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2009 Switzerland-France Annual Conference

Switzerland-France Annual Conference
June 4 to 7, 2009, Dübendorf and Zurich / Switzerland.

The theme of this year's gathering was "Passion Compassion" and the program included various invitations to share in God's passion for this world. Over 300 delegates and guests from Switzerland, France and Algeria were encouraged to reach out to their neighbors and to provide assistance and hope.

Another thematic focus at annual conference was the various realities and needs (spiritual and others) of the generation 60 plus. About half a day was set aside for a lecture and discussions on this issue. In spite of financial challenges many local churches face, conference members have approved establishing a new 60-plus department with part-time employment of a specialist who will assist the local churches in responding to the needs of the elderly.

During the conference session, a new prayer for the connection was introduced. As of June 2009, all local churches in Algeria, France and Switzerland will receive a monthly liturgical prayer focusing on the ministries and challenges of the United Methodist Church in a country in Africa, Asia, Eastern Central Europe or Latin America. The conference members received candles and were requested to bring them to their local churches and to light them when joining in this prayer.

Other business included decisions to dissolve the commission on drug issues and to limit the expenses for central administration and conference-wide ministries. The conference heard extensive reports on the situation in France and North Africa and for the first time, a couple (Ruth and Markus Voegelin) were elected conference lay leaders.

The Constitutional Amendments were approved by a majority of 86 to 95 percent. Membership stands at 7591 (down 115 from the previous year). Worship attendance stands at 7747 (down 68).

-Urs Schweizer