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2017 California-Nevada Annual Conference


The California-Nevada Conference ordained the first Fijian elder in The United Methodist Church and welcomed the president of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma as well as the queen of Tonga at its annual meeting on June 21-24.

Addressing more than 1,000 attendees, San Francisco Episcopal Area Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño told the 169th session of the California-Nevada Annual Conference: “Recommit every single day to be fully the Lord’s. … We want every single person to experience the love of God.”

She challenged the clergy gathered to resist fear. “Don’t be afraid to say to that congregation you are serving that has long been preparing for death, ‘Church, don’t be afraid, for we serve a Risen Lord, who is able to bless us with newness of life.’ Don’t be afraid, brothers and sisters, to preach what the Holy Spirit is placing upon your heart, not what will entertain or necessarily make everyone comfortable, but what the Holy Spirit is calling you to proclaim. Don’t be afraid to confront your own limitations and sin, for only in facing our limitations and sin before our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer will we be made whole and that much more useful for God’s holy purposes.”

She encouraged the laity to take one more step in their ministry. “As you serve others, share your testimony of the love of God with them. Share with them the good news of the saving grace of Christ Jesus and invite them to church. If those you are sharing a witness with already have a church or a community of faith, then encourage them to fully participate in their church or community of faith, and you go and do the same.”

Bishop Carcaño called upon those gathered to continue to work on the following priorities in the coming annual conference year:

  • Ministering to all people, but giving special emphasis to ministry among the marginalized — the poor, the immigrant, and young people who are having their lives cut short in the school to prison pipeline;
  • Work in circuits to renew established congregations and continue planting new places for new people;
  • Aligning ministries with the four areas of focus of The United Methodist Church. 

This is the fourth and final year the annual conference met at the Hyatt in Burlingame, California, near San Francisco. The conference theme was “Testify to Love. Your Story Matters.”

Erin M. Hawkins, top executive for the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race, was the keynote speaker reflecting on the conference’s theme during three plenary sessions. Hawkins told those gathered, “We imprison each other with our stories about who you are, and what you should believe… and in the process we imprison ourselves. ... You imprison yourself and others when you think that there is only one story that defines you. … We have the power to write, and rewrite our stories.”

James H. Salley, associate vice-chancellor for institutional advancement for Africa University, was the preacher for the opening worship, and the offering benefited United Methodist Africa University as the school celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Salley said, “Africa University is transformation in action … an exciting model of what we can accomplish together when we are true to our Wesleyan DNA and our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Bishop Carcaño welcomed the Rev. Tevita Nawadra Banivanua, president of the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma, who participated throughout the session. She also welcomed retired United Methodist Bishops Warner H. Brown Jr., and Roy I. Sano, who participated in the Ordination Service. 
A welcome celebration was held for Bishop Carcaño and her spouse Thomas L. Spaniolo.   
In other action, some of the legislation the conference passed included:

  • The creation of a fifth district for the annual conference;
  • Deciding to elect a new delegation for  the special called General Conference in 2019, with the election occurring at the 2018 annual conference session;
  • Resolutions on public education and transgender justice;
  • Resolution on welcoming the migrant;
  • Resolution in support of the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto.

The conference passed a budget of $6,450,000 for mission and ministry for 2018, a 2.5 percent increase from 2017, and renewed its commitment to moving towards paying 100 percent of general church apportionments.
Conference offerings were taken for the following:

  • Africa University $126,490.54;
  • Necessitous Fund Offering $6,064.12; 
  • Ministerial Education Fund $4,476.00.

Bishop Carcaño was the preacher for the ordination service inviting all to surrender to Christ.  She continued in a tradition of washing the feet of the newly ordained. Nine elders in full connection and two deacons were ordained. Six provisional elders and one provisional deacon were commissioned on Friday evening. One person was recognized and received as an associate member.

Bishop Carcaño welcomed her majesty Queen Nanasipauʻu Tukuʻaho of Tonga to the Ordination Service. 

The conference ordained the first Fijian elder in the denomination, Tikiko Namata Lesuma.  

Ordained Elders: The Revs. Suzanne Calhoun, Chelsea Temple Constant, Laumanu Foloke Ika, Youngmi Jung, Tikiko Namata Lesuma, Ani Missirian-Dill, ‘Ofa Frederica Uepi, Matthew Alexander Pearson and Thomas Widlund.

Ordained Deacon: The Revs. Donna Jeanne Farrell and Devid Dong Seong Ko.

Provisional Elders: The Revs. Rajiv Pathik, Jonathan Visitacion, Elizabeth Cademartori, Caitlin Hamilton, Mei Na Ko and Bob Gilberg.

Provisional Deacon: The Rev. Kenneth Schoon.

Recognized as an Associate Member: The Rev. Stephen Pudinski.

Thirty clergy and spouses who died in the past year and one certified lay minister were remembered during a memorial service. The Rev. Greg Bergquist, associate general secretary for the Division of Ordained Ministry at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, was the preacher for the Memorial Service. Preaching from John 20:1-16a with the sermon title, “Call Me By My True Name,” Bergquist said, “Easter happens in the midst of all of life, even in those moments when feel the greatest sorrow, greatest pain, and greatest grief.” 

The clergy remembered: The Revs. Steven Darling, Harry John Dutt, John M. Foster, Sandra Annette Hammett, Rejean Erca Idzerda, Dwight Lamar Kintner, Richard Owen McKinsey, Jiro Mizuno, Ralph M. Pedersen Jr., Romain August Swedenburg, Philip Walker, Philip F. Whitmer, Harry Everett Wilcock, Charles A.Woodworth and Paul R. Woudenberg.

The clergy spouses remembered: Ada Alida Schalkers Anker, Betty Louise Harmon Chinn, “Don” Charles D. DeCamp, Margaret Elaine Combs-Schilling, Joanne Hardman, Mary Frances Keller, Mary L. Hull Lewis, Helen Dorothy McMichael, Jean Elizabeth Hale Peters, Margaret Mary Pettigrew, John “Jack” Spilman, Donna Veralyn Tarr, Carolyn Vallelunga, Wilma Seath Weber and Marion Lavona Wendler.

Certified lay minister remembered: Lloyd W. Ash.
Eighteen clergy retired, representing more than 512 years of service.

Retirees: The Revs. Afuhia Akolo, Mark Bollwinkel, Dawn Boyd, Thomas Butler, Alice Ann Glenn, Heather Hammer, Danny Huang, Dixie Jennings-Teats, Robert Jennings-Teats, Odette Lockwood-Stewart, Linda Loessberg-Zahl, Gary McAnally, Jane Schlager, Paul Schlager, Dante Simon, Beth Stidham, Mark Wharff and Scott Wylie


Membership stands at 72,266, down 1,017 from the previous year.
Worship attendance stands at 28,907, down 1,021.
Church school attendance stands at 5,970, down 463.
Professions or reaffirmations of faith, for 2016 is 1,322, down 114 from 2015.

Adults and young adults in small groups for 2016 is 20,067, up 771.
Worshippers engaged in mission for 2016 is 23,913, up 793.


Bishop's Awards:

Bishop Melvin G. Talbert Award:

The Rev. Jennifer Goto

Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. Award:

The Revs. Greg Bergquist and Samuel Yun

Francis Asbury Award:

The Rev. Jane Schlager

One Matters Award from Discipleship Ministries:

Kernsville United Methodist Church

Videos and Other Presentations

Next year's annual conference session will be held in Modesto, California at the Convention Center

— Larry R. Hygh Jr., director of communications for the California-Nevada Annual Conference, which encompasses 370 congregations in Northern California and Northern Nevada.