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2011 South Germany Annual Conference

South German Annual Conference
May 18-22, Öhringen and Heilbronn, Germany

The ninth South German Annual Conference gathered May 18-22 in Öhringen und Heilbronn, Germany, with Bishop Rosemarie Wenner presiding. The conference theme was "Where heaven and earth meet." This theme was highlighted several times during the conference.

In the opening worship service, the incoming superintendent of the Stuttgart District, the Rev. Siegfreid Reissing, preached on 1 Corinthians 1:4-9. He emphasized, as did others during the conference, that we could not have heaven on earth as a possession. Rather, heaven on earth can occur whenever we allow God's spirit to work through us.

One important resolution passed by a wide margin during this conference was a cost-cutting measure for the Methodist Church in Germany, which is designed to save 270,000 Euros. In other business, members of various committees for the next four years were elected.

The conference thanked Pastor Hans-Martin Niethammer, who is returning to pastoral service after 10 years as superintendent of the Stuttgart District.

Since the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation was meeting at the same time in Kingston, Jamaica, to celebrate the conclusion and the accomplishments of the Decade to Overcome Violence, which began in 2001, the Committee for Justice, Peace and the Preservation of Creation played a central role at this conference. Two resolutions were introduced. One dealt with guidelines for using ecologically sound products and practices in churches. The other resolution, directed at the German government, demanded the removal of all atomic weapons from German soil.

The conference honored five retiring ministers this year and ordained two women as ministers. Membership (confessing members) of the conference stands at 16,572, down 385 members or 2.27 percent. The number of baptized members in the new conference stands at 13,522.

--Jonathan Whitlock conference communicator