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The Pastor’s Pen

This weekend begins the special-called General Conference. The Conference will convene Saturday, February 23, and conclude on Tuesday, February 26. Several people have asked me how the delegates to General Conference are chosen. Here’s a short explanation…

Every Annual Conference elects an equal number of clergy and lay delegates. In Mississippi, we are sending seven clergy and seven lay persons. The number of delegates is determined by the number of United Methodists holding membership within the bounds of an Annual Conference. In our case, our Conference consists of the entire state of Mississippi.

Every church sends at least one delegate to Annual Conference each June. These delegates then elect delegates to General Conference, which typically takes place every four years. We are scheduled to have a regularly-called General Conference in 2020, so there will be elections for both clergy and lay delegates at this June’s meeting of the Mississippi Annual Conference.

With all of that said, it is easy to feel powerless. After all, the decisions to be made are out of our hands, right?

They are in a way, but I have a strong confidence in Jesus, and I know that he will remain Lord of the Church. So, what can we do? We can pray.

Pray for the delegates to General Conference. Pray for travelling mercies and safety, but also pray for wisdom and strength.

Pray for the bishops who will preside over the plenary sessions. This is no easy task, and each bishop who will be leading needs our prayers and support.

Pray for charity even in disagreement.

Pray for unity among the delegates where possible.

Pray for our beloved United Methodist Church during this critical General Conference. If you would like more information about the happenings at General Conference, please visit umc.org. You can even stream all proceedings live at umc.org/live.

Know whatever happens at General Conference that Christ is still Lord of the Church. Know that we will continue to be a vibrant and growing church seeking to reach the least, last, and lost. The mission of the United Methodist Church is “ to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” That, friends, will never change. Keep praying!