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ANNUAL CONFERENCE UPDATE
Earlier this month, Valorie Mahler and I accompanied Pastor Harrell and Jan as Lay Delegates to Annual Conference in Waco. We spent three days immersed in worship, fellowship, learning, and voting on issues presented to us. The conference teacher this year was Alan Hirsch who is an Australian missiologist (new word for me, but means one who studies missions and mission work). He has written several books and is a leader in teaching the missional movement to churches in Australia, Europe and the US. He taught multiple sessions which focused on how the work of missions was laid out in Ephesians and how today’s churches could put it to work.
The business sessions were mostly routine votes on routine business matters; however, there was serious, grace-filled discussion regarding the resolution from the General Conference to “provide leadership for the denomination by offering a way forward for how we live together as a United Methodist Church in the midst of theological differences relating to our understanding of human sexuality”. Steps will be taken by the Central Texas General and Jurisdictional Conference delegation to begin “modeling healthy conversation about human sexuality before the end of 2016…in the hope that these kinds of conversation can then begin to happen across the annual conference throughout this quadrennium.”
The We Are More campaign which highlighted brief witness statements from various members of the conference churches had been posted around the convention center and were fun and interesting to read. Continuing in that vein, each of the two dozen or more presenters throughout the conference began their reports or presentations with brief witness statements of their own which were very inspirational and insightful. Bishop Lowry spoke beautifully as usual and we are always thrilled to hear him. Valorie and I were honored to be your representatives at Conference.
Jennie Walker


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