Bishop Michael Lowry opened with a story of a small Texas church that’s membership had dwindled to two members, but remained open because their goal was to stay open long enough to bury the two matriarchs. Something happened when lay minister was sent to the church and the church became a witness in the community through their passionate witness. “Our future lies with our very own rediscovery of the Christianity of the Acts of the Apostles,” he said. “We live in a post Christian America North America one of the largest mission fields in the world. Greatest days for the Wesleyan movement are in the future.” We said to accomplish this we must be vibrant in our witness. “There are people starving and who desperately need us to share something deeper and wider,” said Bishop Lowry. “Do we care enough to share what we think is going to be the source of life? We need to be unashamed to speak in Jesus name to the hungry and the hurting.”
MYP (Ministries with Young People)
The MYP report highlighted various youth and young adult ministries throughout the conference.
Ocean City Youth Weekend 2011 took a different feel with young people trading in Saturday morning workshops for mission events. Other events highlighted including the Soul Tending Youth Worker event, two buses traveling to Youth 2011 in Perdue, conference sponsored confirmation retreats, and many youth leadership training opportunities. For additional information on MYP and upcoming ministry opportunities visit them online at http://www.gnjmyp.org/myp-team.
Lay Leader Report
GNJ Lay Leader Rosa Williams highlighted some of the ministry opportunities she had shared in this year including traveling to South Africa for the World Methodist Conference. She also highlighted various opportunities that laity had over the past year to be in ministry with one another. She encouraged laity to partner with their pastoral leaders and congregations. “As partners we are to called to promote the good news of Jesus to all we meet,” said Williams. “As partners we gain energy from each other.”
She also reminded GNJ leadership that Oct 21 was Laity Sunday, a Sunday when laity typically lead all aspects of the worship service. This year’s theme is “Disciples Transforming the World through Service”. It was also announced that $38,490 was given in an offering for the Wings of the Morning Glory mission project. GNJ leadership also m ade additional pledges to the mission.
The Denman Award for Evangelism was presented to Ben Meyer, a youth of the Jackson United
Methodist Church who evangelizes through technology.
Conference Disaster Response Team
The United Methodist Church of Wayne was recognized for its response to the community during
Hurricane Irene. Rev. Derrick Doherty said the church was going out into the community as the flood waters were raising. They also housed several early response teams and offered radical hospitality to them.
A Day of Prayer and Healing
GNJ leaders approved a resolution calling for September 30, 2012 to be a conference-wide “Day of Prayer & Healing” for those who have been hurt through divisive conversations around human sexuality, particularly the issue over the status of LGBT persons in our denomination. Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar will write a prayer of healing and discernment for use by local churches.
During her report Rev. Reggie Albert announced that when we meet next year, from May 30 th to June 1st, that space we meet in will be renovated with a new ceiling, new floor, new bathroom, new walls and new air conditioning. She announced that Valley Forge is about $100,000 cheaper than any place in New Jersey that we could meet. The cheapest location in New Jersey was in Wildwood, NJ. GNJ leadership affirmed the option of returning to Valley Forge in 2014 and 2015 if it was the best option. Leadership also approved the Primary Task Team making the final decision about the location of Annual Conference in 2014 and 2015.