Bishop Ward welcomes people to be engaged in this year’s annual conference, whether in person at the Wilmington Convention Center or through the livestream at nccumc.org/ac2015/.
Grace and peace to you, United Methodist people in the North Carolina Annual Conference.
We gather next week on Wednesday for the Annual Conference session in Wilmington. We will gather in the Wilmington Convention Center, a venue that you will enjoy very much. The plenaries, the worship services, the sessions of Annual Conference will be available to those of you who will not be in Wilmington. You can access Annual Conference through your laptop or through your smartphone. In this way, we hope to share the learning, the celebration, and the discernment together with United Methodist people across the expanse of our annual conference.
We have wonderful leaders and teachers who will be guiding us through the Annual Conference session. Bishop Yambasu of the Sierra Leone Annual Conference will be with us. He will share with us about the ministry of The United Methodist Church through the Ebola crisis of the last year, as well as the impact of Imagine No Malaria in his country. Michael Slaughter, the pastor of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church, in Tipp City, Ohio, will share with us in plenaries. Mike Slaughter has been pastor of the Ginghamsburg church for over 30 years, and the church in rural Ohio has grown to be one of the leading churches in our denomination. Warren Smith from Duke Divinity School will be our teacher for morning Bible studies. He will lead us in reflection upon our theme scripture verses from Matthew 25.
In these and many other ways, we’ll be blessed together. Thank you for praying for this session of the Annual Conference. As we come together, we embody the unity which is ours, given to us through the Holy Spirit. I look forward to seeing you there, and for connecting with those of you beyond, through the internet and smartphones, as together we grow toward God.