Connexional Conference 2009
Connexional Conference Updates
Daily Summary - Tuesday, June 2, 2009.
Devotions were led by Sis. Rachel Harvey (Bahamas/Turks and Caicos Islands) and Bro, Roberto Anderson (Panama/Costa Rica). The sermon was delivered by Rev. Raphael Dessieu. He spoke about "beautiful feet".
Bishop Peter Weaver, the official Ministerial Representative from the UMC had arrived and was introduced to the conference. He offered greetings and an apology for his late arrival. Then it was down to work.
In the morning it was back to the Resources and Development Committee. Again we agonised over the issues of the budget and we received the report of the MCCA Trust Corporation. The Trust is the legal "person" of the MCCA and is also the manager of the Superannuation Fund. In their report the Trust drew attention to the amounts owing to the Superannuation Fund and recommended that Circuits/Districts contribute six weeks of basic stipend for each minister in Full work as a means of contributing to meet the service shortfall in the Fund. With that recommendation, other suggestions were made from the floor.
The budget continued to be a "touchy" topic. The draft suggested an increase in assessment. The reality that not many of the Districts have in the past triennium been faithful to their commitment to pay assessments; the wonder was, if given the recent past what confidence was there that Districts (and by extension Circuits and Congregations) would be faithful in meeting their commitment in the future. The budget was sent back to the Commission for further considerations.
Mission, Evangelism and Education was next to be addressed. Again this proved to be a dose of reality. The report revealed that there has been a negative trend in membership over the past triennium. Only two Districts (Bahamas/Turks and Caicos Islands and Belize/Honduras) had increases in their membership. The negative trend was a sobering point for the Conference.
The launch of the website was lauded by the Conference as was the work of the Publishing Officer.
The news of the inaugural Assembly of the MCCA Men was greeted with much joy. Bro. Godfrey Taylor shared his personal testimony concerning the assembly and spoke about the blessing it was to be in fellowship with other Christian Methodist men. He shared with the Conference an audio recording of the men, at the Assembly, singing.
Second full day completed and it was in many ways "a mixed bag". The healthy sense of reality which came to the Conference should not be seen in negative ways. Indeed, it could be argued that the two days have thrown up the challenges which we must face as a church. Interestingly, what seems to be coming forward has been the interconnection between evangelism and our finances. Interesting link, you may say, but it seems that we are confronted with that link in so many different ways in the life and witness of the Church.
Two full days down, two more to go!