United Methodists from around the world will gather next week in Portland, Oregon for General Conference 2016. Among the thousands gathered, will be 864 delegates elected by their annual and central conferences to revise church laws, adopt new ones and approve plans and budgets for church-wide programs. Half of the delegates are laity (church members) and half are clergy. The number of delegates representing each jurisdiction and annual conference is proportional to the jurisdiction and annual conference’s membership. Old Bethel is part of the Indiana United Methodist Conference. Our conference is part of the North East Jurisdiction.
Each of the 864 delegates elected is assigned to one of the 12 legislative committees. These committees meet during the first half of General Conference to review and make recommendations on the more than 1000 petitions submitted from across The United Methodist Church for consideration on the plenary floor during the second half of the quadrennial gathering. These committees include Church and Society 1 and 2, the committees on Conferences, Discipleship, Faith and Order, Financial Administration, General Administration, Global Ministries, Independent Commissions, Judicial Administration, the Local Church, and the committee on Ministry and Higher Education/Superintendency.
The number of delegates each annual conference receives is proportional to their membership, and how the delegates are assigned to each legislative committee depends largely on the order in which they were elected to the delegation during their respective annual conference sessions. The first elected delegate for example, usually gets first choice in legislative assignments. Whether that is the first elected clergy or lay delegate alternates every four years. This year, the first lay delegate elected will get to choose their legislative assignment before the other delegates elected.
We remember that these conferences are the means through which we organize ourselves to BE the church worldwide. We discern through Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience next steps for our mission through our life together. Through the Church, God has and is creating a movement to bring Jesus Christ’s hope, justice and healing to the world.
As stated above there are numerous (in the 1000s) petitions being discussed which could impact the Church’s method for accomplishing the mission and call of Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World. Please join the Indiana delegation and United Methodists all over the world in prayer.
If you would like to learn more, please visit: http://www.umc.org/topics/general-conference-2016
If you would like to watch live streaming in the coming days: http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/general-conference-2016-live-video-stream-english
Staff Parish is organizing a farewell for Pastor Matthew after church on June 19. In the coming days you are not only invited to celebrate him and his family at that reception, but to support his family with send-off gifts. More information to come! We look forward to celebrating Pastor Matthew’s ministry with Old Bethel and the next steps of his ministerial calling!
Old Bethel’s mission field is a 2-4 mile radius around the church. Given that the average age is 33 and that single parent families of school age children look to be a rising population in a diverse area, Family Ministry is imperative to our mission. Staff Parish has identified the qualifications necessary for this position and is prioritizing those in any job candidate. Staff Parish will be in contact with our District Superintendent as they discern what method will help connect this church with a Family Ministry candidate whose calling and giftings align with the needs of Old Bethel’s Mission field.
If you are interested in becoming a part of the Old Bethel Church family or would like to take the next step in your spiritual journey, come to our next Starting Point sessions, Sundays May 15 and 22, 12:30-2:30pm. Learn about the vision and values of the Old Bethel faith community and what is unique about United Methodists. A light lunch will be served. Childcare will be available but only if requested in advance. RSVP by May 12 to email@example.com or by calling the church office at 317-359-9651.
Vacation Bible School is July 11-15 with dinner served 5:15-5:45pm and VBS programs from 6-8:00pm. This summer’s theme is “Cave Quest: Following Jesus the Light of the World.” Many servant volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks as we prepare to welcome 100+ children and their families. To sign up to serve or to ask questions, contact Nancy Bellinger (firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-375-0711).
It is time to clean your closets, garage, attic, and basement. Bring your unwanted but still useful items to the UMW Garage Sale. Donations may be dropped off in Fellowship Hall May 9 and 10, 8am-6pm and May 11, 9am-noon. Then come back and shop for that hidden treasure May 12, 8am-6pm and May 13, 8am-1pm. Proceeds benefit local, national and global mission projects.
Serving Christ Together,