Annual Conference is the yearly gathering of United Methodists in each region that dates back to John Wesley’s days (in the 1700s). Being members of a conference means that we are in intentional community with one another. We start each annual conference by singing, “And are we yet alive to see each other’s face? Glory and thanks to Jesus Christ and his almighty grace!” Early Methodists traveled by horse and were called “circuit riders.” When they sang those words, they didn’t always know in advance whether their colleagues had survived the dangerous year!
This year, Charlotte Ellis will attend the Missouri Annual Conference on June 9-12. She is University UMC’s lay member to annual conference for 2017-2020.
Normally, I would join her, but this year I have two conferences calling my name. While I am grateful to serve across conference boundaries here in St. Louis, Missouri, my conference membership remains in West Virginia. I will head to the West Virginia Annual Conference on June 8-11.
This year it is especially exciting to go “home among the hills” because my husband, Adam Ployd, will be ordained a deacon in full connection to the West Virginia Annual Conference. This means that he has finished his three years as a commissioned provisional deacon, and now will be a permanent member of the Order of Deacons. His work will remain the same: teaching full-time as an assistant professor of church history and historical theology at Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves.
Because Adam worships regularly with UUMC and considers this his non-seminary “church home,” several members of UUMC have graciously asked how they can celebrate this milestone of ordination as a full deacon. Staff-Parish Relations will coordinate a reception after worship on June 25. (I told them that “anything sweet” is his favorite - but I trust that they will include some healthy food too!).
While I’m gone on June 11 (conference) and June 18 (vacation), Rev. Dr. William L. Johnson III will preach at University UMC. Rev. Bill is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) church, and he is a powerful preacher. You won’t want to miss it!
Keep the whole Methodist connection in prayer as each annual conference meets.