This week, Rev. Diane discusses the importance of Annual Conference, and why she attends two different Annual Conferences.
I’m excited for annual conference! This is the yearly gathering of United Methodists in each region. The practice of gathering for annual conference dates back to John Wesley’s days in the 18th century. Early Methodists traveled by horse and were called "circuit riders."
This week I will be attending the Missouri Annual Conference alongside Stacy Braeske, the voting lay member from our congregation.
Because I am “on loan” to Missouri from the bishop of the West Virginia Annual Conference, I will have voice but no vote. My presence will ensure that I stay current on how to best serve University UMC in the Missouri Annual Conference.
I am especially excited to build connections and relationships in Missouri. I recently started a Facebook group for clergywomen in the Missouri Annual Conference, and to celebrate the 60th anniversary of women’s ordination in the Methodist church, we will be debuting shirts with this awesome female circuit rider logo:
I will participate in the Missouri Annual Conference from Thursday to Saturday (June 2-4) and will be back to preach and lead worship on Sunday, June 5.
The following week (June 7-14) I will return home to the West Virginia Annual Conference. My membership remains in West Virginia, even as I am grateful to serve across conference boundaries here in St. Louis, Missouri. My spouse, Adam Ployd, is going through the ordination process as a member of the West Virginia Annual Conference. We are committed to keeping our clergy membership in the same annual conference, and if and when we transfer, it will be as a couple.
Being clergy members of a conference means that we are in intentional community with one another. We place ourselves under the authority of the bishop, cabinet, and board of ordained ministry in West Virginia. In return, we participate in the order and worship of the conference.
Keep us in prayer as we conference. Modern-day circuit riders use cars instead of horses, but the "travelling Connexion" is an important part of our United Methodist heritage!