“The Journey of a Connectional People: We are a connectional people sharing a common mission in the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference. We are organized to express our connectionalism through being accountable to, supportive of and cooperative with other agencies, churches and individuals of our Annual Conference for the furtherance of our mission.”
The above words are an excerpt from a document that is foundational to the Western Pennsylvania Conference. Can you guess where these words are found?
You won the prize if your answer was the Conference Rules, a set of rules that shape and guide our life as a United Methodist people in Western Pennsylvania. These Rules deal with the organization and implementation of ministry within the bounds of our Conference. This document, archived every year in the Annual Conference Journal, includes rules of Procedure for the Annual Conference session, Standing Rules for Financial Policy, organizational guidelines for Districts and the corporate By-Laws.
More specifically, the above paragraph is the beginning of Rule 3.1.1 which is found under Article 3: Conference Agencies. This section deals with the organization and purpose of our Conference committees and teams – which is essentially the heartbeat of our Conference ministry.
Composed mainly of volunteers (clergy and laity), these teams comprise the network of people that carry out and fulfill the mission of the United Methodist Church – “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Whatever the team may be – Global Ministries or Religion and Race; Higher Education & Campus Ministry or Disabilities Concerns; the Council on Finance & Administration or the Board of Laity; Youth Ministry Team or Evangelism – all the Conference committees are responsible for the “furtherance of our mission.” All teams are about sharing Jesus so that our world can have hope and hearts can be changed!
Every year the Conference Leadership Recruitment and Nominations Team is tasked with finding clergy and laity to serve on the Conference committees. The Nominations team is comprised of a clergy and laity representative from each of the 10 Districts – as well as other assigned members. The goal is to find volunteers from our local churches and ministries who are willing to serve on our Conference Committees. This ensures that Christ continues to be proclaimed and our world transformed.
Although the covid-19 pandemic has stressed the ministry of the Western Pennsylvania Conference, one of the great benefits of the crisis is that most, if not all, of the Conference committee work has gone virtual. What this means is that location is no longer an issue – no matter where you live, as long as you have a phone or a computer with access to the internet, you can be connected to a Conference committee!
The 2021 process begins on January 13, 2021 as the Conference Nominations Committee meets via Zoom. Although this year appears to be a light one in terms of need for new committee members, there are still vacancies to fill and rosters to be bolstered. It is essential that the mission of the Conference continue, so the Nominations Team will faithfully meet and do their part.
As your Director of Connectional Ministries, I invite you to support the Conference Nominations team in the following ways: 1) pray for the process, that Christ be glorified through it and that ministry will prosper because of it; 2) if you know of a clergy or lay person who would serve well on a Conference committee, please submit their name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org; and 3) be ready to prayerfully consider your answer if you are called to serve on a Conference Committee.
May God’s grace be with you and me as we continue to further the ministry of Jesus Christ in Western Pennsylvania and beyond!
To see the 2020 Conference Nominations report, go to: https://www.wpaumc.org/files/aboutus/2020+annual+conference/interim+nominations+report+for+2020.pdf
To see the Conference Rules, go to: https://www.wpaumc.org/files/resource/journal/2019/10+rules+2019.pdf