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2013 California-Nevada Annual Conference

June 19-22, 2013
Sacramento (Calif.) Convention Center
Theme: "See What You Have: See Your Neighbors Too"

Addressing more than 1,000 attendees, San Francisco Episcopal Area Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. challenged the 165th session of the California-Nevada Annual Conference from Luke 10, the story of the Good Samaritan. He asked, "Who is our neighbor?" Brown said God is continually at work through God's people called United Methodists all across the conference, bringing good news and resources.

"God is at work, and our neighbors are in urban settings, the mountains and the deserts, the fields and the forests, the bay and in the ocean," Brown said. "We have as much training as the first disciples."

In February, Brown challenged conference churches to raise $50,000 for a mission offering to be collected during the annual conference session for a campaign called "Bridge of Love to Angola." The offering will be used to rebuild a health clinic in Bom Jesus, Angola. More than $30,000 was donated. United Methodist Volunteer in Mission teams from the conference will travel to Angola to aid in clinic reconstruction.

Speakers this year included the Rev. Eric H. F. Lawand the Rev. George E. "Tink" Tinker.

Law, director of the Kaleidoscope Institute, focused on "holy currencies." Law founded the institute to continue the ministry he started in the late 1980s when he began a theological and practical journey through the landscape of diversity. As a Christian, he asked, how can we follow Christ's call to seek and serve Christ in every person and respect the dignity of every human being?

Tinker, a prominent American Indian theologian and scholar, is a professor of American Indian cultures and religious traditions at Iliff School of Theology, Denver. Tinker delivered an "Invitation to Prayer and Reflection" on the history and current relationship with Native people. Tinker's presentation prepared the annual conference for a yearlong study leading to the 2014 annual conference session when an "acts of repentance" service for indigenous people will be held.Tinker said, "We've got to engage a healing process that can bring healing to all people who live on this continent."

The Rev. Lisa Allen led the annual conference in worship. Allen is an associate professor of worship and music at the Interdenominational Theological Seminary in Atlanta. An ordained elder in the North Georgia Annual Conference, she teaches courses on Christian music and worship. She has a special interest in womanist theology, African-American spirituality, worship and liturgy.

The annual conference session launched a conferencewide Imagine No Malaria Initiative to save 200,000 lives by raising $2 million over the next two years. A conference website has been set up to educate and to track the endeavor, www.calnevimagine.org. Youth led the effort by raising $3,600 during the annual conference session.

A proposal to change from the current apportionment formula to a tithe from each local church was brought forward from a tithing task force and passed almost unanimously.

All proposed constitutional amendments from the 2012 General Conference were affirmed.

Wisconsin Episcopal Area Bishop Bishop Hee-Soo Jung was the preacher for the ordination service. He challenged those gathered, saying, "Nice is not enough. &ellipsis; We must open our doors to those who are on the margins." He added, "Religion must not be concerned about mansions in the sky, but the slums and ghettos in the world." He is one of only three people of Korean descent to be elected bishop in The United Methodist Church. Jung currently serves on the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship, JustPeace, the United Methodist National Hispanic Plan and the Korean National Plan.

In what has become a tradition for the past several years, Brown washed the feet of the newly commissioned ordinands. One deacon in full connection and two elders in full connection were ordained, and one provisional deacon and two provisional elders were commissioned on Saturday afternoon. Eleven licensed local pastors were received as well as two elders from other full-communion denominations.

Thirty-three clergy and spouses who died in the past year were remembered during a memorial service.

Nineteen clergy retired, representing more than 486 years of service.

Statistics:

  • Membership, 77,943, down 1,015 from the previous year (as a direct result of 1,533 persons removed by charge conferences)
  • Worship attendance, 32,607, down 3,307
  • Church school attendance, 6,616, down 932
  • Covenant discipleship groups, 3,913, up 489
  • Christian formation groups, 28,923, up 467
  • Baptisms, 824, down 68

- Dr. Larry R. Hygh Jr., director of communications, California-Nevada Annual Conference