The novel coronavirus outbreak has required us all to think differently and embrace innovation in our ministries. It’s time to think differently about Annual Conference, too.
Over the past weeks, we’ve heard story after story about how, as a response to the spread of the novel coronavirus, you and your congregation have continued to think differently and embrace innovative approaches to ministry: staying connected to ensure that our most vulnerable members are being taken care of, and using online tools to build community.
Your consistency in leadership with your church through regular communication – constantly reminding people that they have a team of people who are supporting them spiritually and physically – has shown an authentic attentiveness that has strengthened our churches in the face of challenge.
It’s become clear that we need to think differently about Annual Conference and build on that consistency of leadership that we’ve seen across the Free Methodist Church in Southern California. In all times, Annual Conference is a time of transition with new board members, new ministerial leaders, and pastors moving between appointments. Making these changes at this time would create holes in leadership structures, putting the full weight of this crisis on new members in leadership positions without time to learn the ropes and leaving our most vulnerable members in a state of flux.
Because of all these things, we are postponing Annual Conference 2020 until Fall. We will use the spring and summer to evaluate our changing needs as a conference. Our nominating committee will be working hard to adjust their candidate evaluation process, taking into account state and local restrictions on gatherings. This will give us time to make better informed appointments and provide more time to review candidates for board positions.
We know God is going to continue to move in our churches, and we’re excited to make Annual Conference 2020 a celebration of God’s grace and love as we take on the challenges caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
We will continue to communicate as details are finalized. In the meantime, we want to hear from you how God is teaching you to rely on the Spirit for strength, wisdom, and empowerment. We’re praying for you.
May God bring you peace.
Your Superintendent Team,
Rev. Charles Latchison
Rev. Glen Prior
Rev. Fraser Venter