Countdown to Conferences

Date Posted: 4/3/2012

Thrive or Survive?

"Despite the fact that we say it every time,” says Episcopal Candidate Dr. Chappell Temple, the upcoming 2012 General Conference really could be a game-changer in the life of our church, if only for the fact that the restructuring proposals may actually have some traction  this time.” TAC delegates have long been in preparation for the General Conference which begins April 24 in Florida.“On the negative side,” he adds, “the Call to Action and related legislation have the potential to draw the energy out of everything else if we become too self absorbed with our structure and not with our mission.


But I think we can also take it as a very positive sign that we are awakening to the realities which our church faces and prepared to start to deal with them. Our delegation has issued a statement commending the work of the bishops and others in calling our denomination to understand the absolutely pivotal role which vital congregations must play if we are to  continue to be useful in God's Kingdom.”


Temple acknowledges there are some concerns with some of the particular pieces of legislation which are being proposed, but notes, “that's what General Conference is for – to work those out in the context of a multiplicity of voices and witnesses, so we are hopeful that can happen. There will also be what has become the usual buzz around some of the social questions, in particular those dealing with our stance on homosexuality, abortion, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Hopefully, however, we will find a way to conduct those conversations with the kind of civility that seems to have eluded the culture at present.” In March, Church of the Resurrection Pastor Adam Hamilton penned an Open Letter to the Delegates and, within days, more than 80 of Methodism’s 100 largest churches had submitted their signature of support.


Invitation to conversation “As we continue to prepare for our time in Tampa, I know that each of the members of our delegation would be happy to hear from anyone who has particular concerns or questions, especially those which will be handled by the legislative committee to which they have been assigned. It would also be encouraging just to know that others are praying for us during this time, as it is an enormously taxing two weeks, both  physically and spiritually."


Galveston, Oh Galveston: Annual Conference Updates


Beginning in early May, lay and clergy delegates have the opportunity to hear conference leadership provide insight and facilitate discussions at the District Pre- Conference Meetings across Texas as noted in the chart on page 2. Attendees are urged to bring their Pre-Conference Journals if they have received them, however a limited number of extra copies will be available as needed.


These 90-minute sessions are open to anyone interested in knowing more about preparation for Conference with regard to TAC’s 2012 key issues, resolutions before the body, and much more. “Delegates or any interested laity that are unable to attend the meeting scheduled in their immediate district are welcome to attend another,” suggests B. T. Williamson, Assistant to the Bishop. See District Meeting Schedule


In case you haven’t heard…

• Conference Worship Consultant DeAndre Johnson will lead morning devotions at a variety of locations beginning Tuesday on the beach in front of the San Luis Resort hotel at 7:30 a.m. On Wednesday, devotions will be held at Moody UMC and on Thursday at the Galveston Convention Center. DeAndre will also have a surprise addition to worship this year, so don’t miss it.


• On the Sunday leading into Conference, June 3 at 7 p.m., plan to attend a special organ concert at Moody UMC featuring Dr. Joanna Whitsett and two additional guest organists playing religious and classical music for attendees’ enjoyment.


Important notes:


• For those who need childcare, remember that registration will close on May 7th. Register at


• For those than need wheelchairs, Galveston does not have a supply of power wheelchairs as is commonly available at conference.


• Conference attendees will see the unveiling of a new Conference logo and hear an update on key priorities and new communication initiatives.


• Watch for details on a special panel moderated by one of Houston’s local media celebrities, featuring the incredible work of several Methodist organizations.


• The Center for Missional Excellence is hosting a food drive at the conference to help replenish supplies that typically reach an all-time low in the summer when children cannot access school feeding programs.