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2011 Switzerland-France Annual Conference

Annual Conference Switzerland-France-North Africa

The Annual Conference Switzerland-France-North Africa met from June 16-19, 2011, in Winterthur and Zurich (Switzerland) under the theme "Where Heaven and Earth Meet." This theme was an encouraging invitation for the conference members and guests to focus on the first part of the UMC mission statement and to spend much time thinking, discussing and praying about what it means to increasingly make disciples of Jesus Christ.

On Sunday, Bishop Patrick Streiff urged more than 1,000 church members and friends gathered for the closing ordination service to leave the comfort zones of a regular, secured (congregational) life and to make a radical turn in order to reach out to people in need. Three men and one woman were ordained as elders; another two women and one man were received as full members of the annual conference (recognizing the ordination they received in other churches).

Conference business included one session of half a day with lectures, reports, interviews and discussions on the UMC mission statement. Among other guests, retired Bishop Walter Klaiber from Germany was present. The reports from the various annual conference bodies also often referred to the task of making disciples. The children and youth department emphasized the importance that the local churches increasingly become a home for children and youth a home where they can actively share in witness and service and are not faced with observant skepticism but are encouraged by support. The media commission reminded the conference members of the importance of an up-to-date website, which is both informative and inviting.

The Church Council reported about two places where in addition to new church rooms apartments were built by the UMC in Switzerland. The church does not want to become a real estate company but make the best possible use of its estate and use the profit for supporting new church starts and developments both among local inhabitants and immigrants. Connexio, the network for mission and service of the UMC Switzerland-France reminded the conference of its various activities in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America, which also helped to make disciples of Jesus Christ even though the donations considerably decreased last year.

Serge Frutiger (clergy) and Christine Schneider-Oesch (lay) were elected as delegates for General Conference 2012.

Source: Office of Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich