Every year, United Methodists from all across the Missouri Conference gather together for our annual meeting. This year, the meeting will be Friday June 9 through Sunday June 11 in St. Charles. Manchester UMC will be represented there by Revs. Andy Bryan, Phil Estes, Winter Hamilton, and Jim Peich. Our lay delegates to the conference session are Liz Shuburte, Denise McCartney, Ali Fields, and Cliff Hackman.
This weekend at Manchester, the guest preacher will be the Rev. Scott Lohse. Scott recently returned to the area, and he and his wife Lin have become members of Manchester UMC. Scott will preach at all three worship services this weekend. Thank you, Scott, for sharing your time and energy!
At the Annual Conference session, Bishop Bob Farr, bishop for the Missouri Conference, will preside. While there, the conference does the important work of licensing, commissioning, and ordaining people for ministry, and fixing the appointments of the pastors. This year, two people from Manchester UMC will be a part of this sacred time in particularly special ways.
Ali Fields will be licensed as a local pastor, the next step on her journey toward ordination. Ali has been serving as the Director of Social Justice ministries here, and beginning July 1 will become the Associate Pastor of Social Justice Ministries! Ali completed Licensing School this Spring, along with one year of seminary at Garrett Evangelical. Her next steps in the process toward ordination include a residency program with the Missouri Conference as she also completes seminary.
Jim Peich will be ordained as an elder, and join the Order of Elders as a fully ordained pastor. The process toward ordination for Jim included seminary at Asbury Theological Seminary and the completion of the residency program that Ali is now entering. Jim serves as the Executive Pastor of Ministry and Leadership here at Manchester UMC, and is currently on a professional renewal leave. Beginning July 1, Jim will begin serving as the Lead Pastor of Cornerstone United Methodist Church in O’Fallon. As an ordained elder, Jim is a part of the itinerant ministry of Methodism, which believes that it is best for the health of the Body of Christ to send pastors to communities where their gifts and graces would be most effective.
Aside from these two monumental events at the conference, all the other business will pale in comparison! And, truthfully it will be a lot less fun, as well. For example, the conference will vote on the disaffiliations of seventy-five congregations who desire to leave the denomination under the provisions of paragraph 2553 in the 2019 Book of Discipline. This paragraph provides a disaffiliation process for congregations that want to leave the denomination over issues of LGBT+ inclusion.
You can find more information about the Missouri Conference at www.moumethodist.org