The intentional focus at annual conference was Judgement, Justice, Joy featuring our Native American brothers and sisters as we continue toward reconciling as a conference. The key speaker, Rev. Dr. Tinker, each day provided us an image and narrative of the hardships and separations created for Native Americans over the hundreds of years since settlers came and how that narrative needs to change to further healing. His presentation was thought-provoking, at times sad and funny, and valuable to hear. The song Draw the Circle Wide was sung multiple times during the many worship periods. “Draw the Circle Wide, Draw it Wider Still” – Another intentional focus to open our hearts and minds to those we may not naturally include in our lives, our prayers, our support – a prompting toward individually being “reconciling.”
There was a really great presentation by James Kang (Cal-Pac Communication Director) on how local churches can use social media to be more inclusive and welcoming; “Don’t DO social, BE social!” Kang also talked of the C-School where local churches can acquire tutorials and tools on the use of the internet for effective outreach and communications.
Annual Conference was an educational and spiritual adventure that allowed us to gain knowledge of how the UMC operates in both Plenary and Legislative sessions. It was an honor to be part of these key processes, to be able to vote and to have our voice included as part of change.
Cal-Pac Conference voted on and passed becoming a Reconciling Conference. While there is review required the fact remains that Cal-Pac has made the statement that we are reconciling. The spirit of that vote cannot be taken away regardless of the judicial council rulings. Ndinda volunteered at the Reconciling Ministries Network booth along with Bruce Baraw, and both of them met and connected with a lot of members from other churches that share the same passion for inclusion as PB UMC does.
Connecting with Lay Leaders and Clergy throughout the conference, learning the ropes of the business at hand, gaining a wider view of the needs of our world and being spiritually fed all stand out as high points of the four days. We are truly humbled by the leadership of Bishop Carcaño. Her grace as a Christian, her skill as a leader and her compassion as a person shines through. We are encouraged by where she is leading our conference.
To read the full reports, contact the church office.
Submitted by Scott, Rick, and Ndinda