The theme of the upcoming Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church is “A Future with Hope.” As Bishop Scott J. Jones writes, “we must … remind ourselves that God is God and is still in charge. We belong to a pilgrim church that is not perfect.”
The Conference is a time to come together in unity and to “seek ways to move forward in a loving relationship with one another.”
The conference is slated for May 26-29 at the Houston Hilton-Americas; it’s moved back to downtown Houston in a cost-savings effort.
“It’s about fellowship and remembering who we are,” says Rev. B.T. Williamson, Assistant to the Bishop, who coordinates the conference each year. “It’s a time for worship and celebration together, and a time to take care of the temporal business of the conference.”
Deliberations and decisions in Houston will affect the UMC General Conference, to be held in Minneapolis in May 2020. Also, at the Houston event, Texas will choose its representatives to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences.
Voting guides, as well as a preconference journal, schedules and even worship guides can be accessed via a smartphone app, which will also include a guide to nearby restaurants.
There’s a single resolution on the agenda for the conference. Submitted by Rev. Danny Yang, senior pastor of Westbury United Methodist Church in Houston, the resolution would urge delegates to the General Conference to alter language in the United Methodist Book of Discipline regarding same-sex marriage and unions.
The full resolution can be read here.
The bishop’s Episcopal Address is slated for Sunday night in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom.
“I really looking forward to hearing my bishop speak,” said Rev. Williamson. “His Episcopal Address comes not only as inspiration but also a challenge, bringing guidance to the Church; in Wesleyan theology, we believe that our lives of faithfulness to God and Christ are always moving toward perfection. The grace of God allows us to be more loving, to further grow the Kingdom of God here on Earth. We have work yet to do. And that’s what the conference is all about.”
Meetings scheduled for the event include:
From 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, May 27, youth groups will gather for a Youth Connexions lunch and to attend an Astros game; participants should gather in Hotel Americas outside the Grand Ballroom. On Tuesday, youth will have lunch then visit Splashtown. Gather in the same location, at the same time.
Also, on Tuesday is a Youth Workers’ Luncheon at nearby Jackson Street Barbecue (209 Jackson St.).
On Tuesday, the conference will hear reports from special speakers like Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries, and Bailey Martin, of the Laos/Thailand Mission Team. On Wednesday, Marc Boom, CEO of Houston Methodist Hospital, will speak about the hospital’s 100th anniversary.
Delegates are encouraged to attend the preconference meetings for their areas of interest. The schedule will be posted on the conference website on May 1, 2019.