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2013 Serbia/Macedonia Annual Conference

Serbia/Macedonia Provisional Annual Conference
Feb. 7-10, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

"On the Way like Migrating Birds"

The invitation to the 2013 session of Serbia/Macedonia Provisional Annual Conference, which took place from Feb. 7 to 10 in Skopje, included an illustration of migrating birds lighting on a wire for a stopover. This illustration was a good match for the theme from Hebrews 13:14: "We don't have a permanent city here, but rather we are looking for the city that is still to come."

The annual conference meeting had been postponed from autumn 2012 to February 2013. It was a stopover in the midst of many changes regarding the community of the pastors and regarding the ministries of the church. In the District of Serbia, there was the unique situation that three young pastors could be admitted into full membership with the conference. The ordination as elders will take place on March 24, 2013, in Kisa, Serbia, allowing their families and congregations to participate in this special celebration as well. These people are a blessing for the church and will strengthen the community of young pastors in Serbia. The Rev. Ana Palik-Kunak will continue to serve as superintendent.

In the District of Macedonia, one ordained elder withdrew from the conference since he did not want to accept a new appointment. The Rev. Mihail Cekov, having reached the retirement age, gave back his varied tasks on the annual conference level. The members of the annual conference thanked him for his longstanding and faithful service and presented him a picture of Skopje - the place where he had started his service as a young pastor faced by the very difficult circumstances of Communist rule. In Macedonia, there is momentarily only one young elder and one young local pastor. All other clergy are close to the retirement age, or they are still serving a local church although being officially retired.

The District Conference Macedonia had elected a new church board in September 2012, presided by a layman, who is now the official legal representative towards the state. It is a joyful and hopeful sign that a new generation is increasingly taking over leadership responsibilities. In some local churches, new lay speakers are starting their service, accompanied by the Rev. Wilfried Nausner, superintendent. There is reason for hope that young people will hear and explore God's call into the ministry.

Two delegates from Albania participated, as guests, in the conference, as well. Their presence was a living sign that the body of Jesus Christ is exceeding any borders of nations and ethnicities. The annual conference was probably the first round of global voting on the constitutional amendments approved at the 2012 General Conference. The next session will take place from April 3 to 6, 2014, in Serbia.

Source: Office of Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich/Switzerland