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2011 Serbia/Macedonia Annual Conference

"Seek the Lord with all your heart" was the theme of this year's meeting of the Serbia/Macedonia Annual Conference, which took place from Sept. 22-25, 2011, in Kisac Serbia. In many regards, the heart became the focus of the morning devotions and the evening worship services: a seeing heart, a firm heart, a seeking heart, a pure heart, a cheerful heart and a sanctified heart.

During the plenary meetings, grateful hearts regularly found expression. It has been joyful to experience how conference members spontaneously expressed their gratitude for the work of other people. This rendered a pleasant and encouraging touch to the gathering.

The report of the superintendent of the UMC in Macedonia, however, mentioned that the Methodists in Serbia and Macedonia seem to have less in common and grow apart from one another. Attendees accepted this news as a challenge. Only among the women are there regular encounters and visits at the women's retreats. The chairpersons of the youth commissions of both countries expressed their willingness and aim to explore how gatherings of young adults from both districts can take place again in the future. Playing music and singing also brought together old and new friends from both countries and awoke memories of the togetherness in the past.

Social changes were particularly visible in the work with children, youth and young adults. In media work, the Internet and Facebook are of increasing importance. On the other hand, it is also noticeable that the life worlds of older and younger people develop very differently. Some local churches have trouble dealing with the changes, which will be necessary in order to welcome and integrate a new generation. The annual conference is an important place for raising awareness, for exchange and for consultation in this regard, as well.

Vladimir Fazekas was commissioned as Probationary Pastor. He is currently appointed to Vrbas UMC (Serbia). Marian Dimov was admitted in full connection. He is currently serving in Kocani (Macedonia) and will be ordained elder next spring in Skopje (Macedonia). We are very grateful for these two young pastors. On the other hand, we urgently need more people who are willing to be called to serve our church as pastors particularly in Macedonia.

The delegates to General Conference 2012 are: Superintendent Ana Palik-Kuncak (Serbia, clergy) and Robert Milcev (Macedonia, lay). The next annual conference meeting will take place from Oct. 18-21, 2012, in Macedonia.

Office of Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich/Switzerland
September 27, 2011