By Caleb Hennington
Digital Content Editor
As many of you know, my first week as the Digital Content Editor for the Conference was the same week as the Conference’s annual gathering in Hot Springs, Arkansas; the Super Bowl for Arkansas Methodists.
I was “baptized by fire” that week, as many people have pointed out to me (and so was my colleague, Day Davis, who started at the Conference office a day after I did!)
But this year, I’m excited for Annual Conference. I’m prepared for the job I need to do. I know where I need to be, and I also know what’s at stake for our Conference and our Church.
Like every Annual Conference, we will be discussing the business of the Conference, like petitions and resolutions. We’ll also be worshiping together in song, learning together from some fantastic speakers, and witnessing together the ordination of many future clergy leaders at the Ordination Service on Friday night – one of my favorite experiences from last year’s Conference.
This year is a little bit different, though. In addition to our regular work, we’ll also be electing clergy and lay delegates to both the 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the 2020 South Central Jurisdictional Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.
As many of you know — because it’s almost impossible not to know it — General Conference 2019 was a significant event in our Church whose outcome received national and international attention across the world.
The lay and clergy delegates – more than 800 of them from the U.S., Africa, Eurasia, and The Philippines – were tasked with making a massive decision that shaped our Church’s future. The delegates elected at this year’s Annual Conference will also serve as critical decision makers for the future of the United Methodist Church.
We are blessed to have a large pool of faithful Arkansas United Methodists to choose from at this year’s Conference – nearly 80 people have entered their name for consideration. Four lay delegates and four clergy delegates, along with alternates, will be chosen by the voting body of the Conference to attend the 2020 General Conference, and the same number of lay and clergy delegates will also be selected for the 2020 South Central Jurisdictional Conference.
My advice for all of us as we enter into the vital work of the Annual Conference this year is simple: pray.
Pray for our delegates, pray for the ones who will be voting for our delegates, pray for our Conference leaders, and pray for our bishop.
These are essential, life-changing decisions that we make at Annual Conference. Pray that God’s will be done and that we can continue making disciples of Jesus Christ that will transform the world.