Faith at First

Exploring and engaging our faith: personally, communally, and across our city

Wisconsin Annual Conference 2018 - One With Each Other

Annual Conference in the United Methodist Church is a time of learning, worship, business, celebration, and fellowship across the connection. This past weekend, a group of clergy, members, and conference volunteers from First Church got to experience this important time in the life of our denomination. You can read their reports and reflections below. Interested in attending a future Annual Conference? Let us know!

From Bill White, Chancellor for Annual Conference:

As the Chancellor for the Annual Conference, I can say that the 2018 Annual Conference was very smooth. While we wrestled a bit on thorny issues such as gun control, human sexuality, and the launching of a $6.8 million capital campaign, the group was courteous to each other and the leadership was very firm, yet flexible. Looming over all of the proceedings was the General Conference in February 2019 where the future of our denomination will be decided based almost entirely on the issues surrounding human sexuality and how we, as Christians, find an appropriate response to those issues. Nonetheless, the sessions were good and showed to me as Chancellor for the last 26 years that we can and do work with each other and can continue to grow and be effective in our ministries.

From Ann Herrold-Peterson, Lay Member of Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM):

This was my first time at Annual Conference with an official responsibility – as a lay member of the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM). On Friday morning, I greeted people who stopped at the display table, which just happened to be alongside the main registration desk. I enjoyed listening to conversations as folks registered. There was an energy and an excitement about convening with other Wisconsin United Methodists. While there was much business to do, this chance for fellowship and connection was clearly a very special time. Later that evening, I attended the Clergy Session as a voting member of BOOM. Both Bishop Jung and the Chair of BOOM, Rev. Rebecca Henry, set the context for the meeting by emphasizing the importance of our work and our responsibility to listen and respect each other – calling us all to live into the conference theme “One with Each Other.” I was impressed with the Board’s extensive report and left the meeting feeling newly inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment of all the Wisconsin clergy and the steadfast faithfulness of our leader, Bishop Jung. I’m honored to be part of the Board and the important work this group is doing.

From Lay Members, Bobbi Foutch-Reynolds, Donna Veatch, and Doug Knudson:

The Wisconsin Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church was held June 15-18 at the Marriott West in Middleton. Numerous action items (too many to list individually but we will gladly talk with you about them if asked) included: a call for congregations to advocate for legislation to reduce gun violence; renewal of our affiliation with Harbor House Crisis Shelter in Superior and the Northcott Neighborhood House in Milwaukee; the launch of a campaign to raise $6,800,000 for the revitalization of congregations, new ministry starts, and to strengthen Justice and Mercy agencies; funding the conference budget for 2019; a resolution calling for an end to the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents; appointing GLBTX members to advise general conference delegates on gender issues; and giving conference approval of the pending amendment to add gender justice to the UMC constitution. There were worship services, bible study and teaching sessions, a memorial service, an ordination service, and a service to honor 15 clergy retiring this year. 52 individuals were celebrated for having completed the Hispanic program for Congregational Development. Ken Engelman was honored for 71 years of ministry. In addition to Mark, Tina, and Breanna, several FUMC members and retired clergy were in attendance.