2012 California-Nevada Annual Conference Report
By Cate Monaghan
Director of Communications
"Be, See, [and] Do What Matters to God – GO!" was the theme of the 2012 California-Nevada Annual Conference Session, June 20-23.
The meeting took place at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, California with Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. officiating. The Rev. Dr. Lisa Allen, assistant professor of worship and music at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, designed and led Spirit-filled times of worship.
Guest speakers Rudy and Juanita Rasmus, pastors of St. John's Downtown United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas gave powerful testimonies and challenged conference-goers to love God and love people without conditions, and to practice self-care.
Bishop Brown threw out the first pitch at the June 21 Sacramento River Cats (Triple-A baseball team) game, and was interviewed about Imagine No Malaria at an INM table on the concourse – where members of the youth and young adult delegations to ACS handed out fly swatters, wristbands, and leaflets, and gave INM T-shirts to those who made a $10 contribution through text-messaging. An Imagine No Malaria PSA was played on the stadium's giant screens, and a portion of each ticket sold through a special online link was set aside as a donation to INM.
The Annual Conference Offering for Imagine No Malaria and other INM activities raised more than $27,500.
In a separate missional opportunity, conference-goers donated $17,000-worth of cleaning buckets and cleaning bucket supplies for the United Methodist Committee on Relief's "UMCOR West" Depot.
The conference voted on a proposal from CFA to base the apportionment formula on a tithe of local church income. After considerable discussion, the proposal was tabled for further study and consideration at the next annual conference.
A resolution calling for a "Study Committee for an Inclusive Conference" was adopted. Submitted in response to the defeat of the Adam Hamilton/Mike Slaughter "compromise" legislation at General Conference, it calls for Cal-Nevada to establish a committee "to study and evaluate alternative ways of being a 'Wesleyan Church,' such as the creation of regional Central Conferences or of an autonomous Church," and invites other Conferences, Jurisdictions, or related United Methodist entities to participate.
The annual conference also approved legislation concerning "We Will Not Be Silent". "We Will Not Be Silent" previously had been adopted by other Conferences in the Western Jurisdiction. It states, in part, that the Conference "will not be silent concerning full participation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender persons at all levels in our church and society … [and] will seek to remove all discrimination within our church and society against persons based upon sexual and gender identity."
The conference approved a resolution to support the non-violent dimensions of "Occupy Wall Street." Also adopted were resolutions in support of organizations and programs working against bullying; homeowners facing foreclosure and eviction; the Violence Against Women Act, particularly as it pertains to Native American Women; ending the death penalty in California; the Palestinian village of Wadi Foquin; and no war with Iran. A recommendation seeking protection for Iranian dissidents in Iraq was approved also.
At the Saturday Service of Commissioning and Ordination, three persons were ordained, four were commissioned, one person was received into associate membership, three persons received recognition of their orders as elders, and one person received recognition of change of orders (from Order of Deacons to Order of Elders). Their average age is 45.
In addition, three newly licensed local pastors were recognized.
Nineteen (19) persons retired.
Membership stands at 77,943, down 1,015 from the previous year. Average worship attendance stands at 35,931, down 1,024. Average attendance in Sunday church school stands at 7,548, down 189.