Bishop Ward speaks about the upcoming Annual Conference in this Connections video. Find more information about Annual Conference, including the agenda and reports, on the Annual Conference 2013 page.
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. One month from today, the North Carolina Annual Conference session will be unfolding. I look forward to seeing many of you there in person and I invite those of you who will be in your communities during this time, to go online. The Annual Conference sessions will be streamed and you can watch and engage and learn.
We gather at Annual Conference sessions so that we might worship together, renew our sense of community in the Christian life and mission, and go forth in mission to the world.
There will be teaching sessions every day of Annual Conference. We will be led by Tom Berlin and Lovett Weems in thinking about ways that we might be more fruitful in every local congregation. We will also be led by Candace Lewis in celebrating church planting, the creating of new communities for Christians in the North Carolina Annual Conference.
In addition to these three leaders coming from beyond our annual conference, we will be led by many gifted leaders from our community, both in break-out workshops and in the plenary sessions.
We celebrate higher education one of the evenings at Annual Conference, giving thanks for the long tradition of engagement in higher education in the North Carolina Annual Conference and celebrating a very significant anniversary of Louisburg College.
Another evening, we will celebrate new church planting and the way in which the North Carolina Conference has continued to grow through the establishment of new churches. We will remember the work of the Ten Dollar Club and receive a vision for the way we will go forward in generosity towards church planting.
On Saturday morning, Bishop Larry Goodpaster from the Western North Carolina Conference and I together will share visions of ways in which we, United Methodists across our great state, will engage in mission together. The Annual Conference session will end with a glorious worship service called “The Ordering of Ministry.”
All clergy are invited to be robed and vested and to process at the beginning of this service, as we commission a missionary, as we recognize and pray for local pastors, as we commission and as we ordain servant leaders for our church.
I look forward to this time together and with you, I am praying for renewal, for connection, and for stronger ministry as we go forth to grow.
“From strength to strength” is our quadrennial theme and the theme of our annual conference is “grow.” I look forward to seeing you then.