The 2020 Eastern PA Annual Conference will happen October 13-14, a Tuesday and Wednesday, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks. Originally scheduled for June 18-20, the session was postponed because of restrictions against public gatherings due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The now two-day schedule means a reduced agenda from the usual three-day schedule. Included will be worship, holy conferencing, conference reports and legislative resolutions, ordination and commissioning of clergy, a memorial service, celebration of clergy retirees and a retiree luncheon, and other standard activities. The 2020-2021 conference budget will also be presented and voted on. The Adjourned Session initially planned for that purpose on October 24 is cancelled.
The annual Clergy and Laity sessions will meet in the morning, October 13, just prior to the Annual Conference opening worship. Staff will begin event preparations onsite October 12.
The Commission on Annual Conference Sessions met March 30 to plan a modified agenda, while the final dates were being negotiated with the Expo Center. Fall dates are hard to acquire now, with so many spring events being rescheduled.
Annual Conference registration fees already paid for June will be refunded, although with conference staff working from home, that process may require weeks to complete. A new fee and registration period for the fall session will be announced soon.
District conferences are now scheduled to convene on Sunday afternoon, October 4.
Paragraph 32 of the Book of Discipline states that at the beginning of each quadrennium, the Annual Conference shall “provide for the election of additional lay members to equalize lay and clergy membership of the annual conference.” Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Resolution 2002-15 states that “each District Committee on Nominations shall nominate the additional lay members.” That resolution goes on to state that “in making their selections, the District Committees on Nominations shall consider gender, age, ethnicity, geographic equity and circuit churches with no lay member.”
2020 is the last year of the current quadrennium, so we will only be electing persons to fill open lay member slots, and to ensure that enough reserve member slots are filled should elected members not be able to attend the 2020 Annual Conference Session. If you would like to submit your name, or wish to submit the name of another person, in consideration for any open Lay Equalizing Member positions, or as a Reserve Lay Member, please submit your name to your District Office. Each District Committee on Nominations will then bring a slate of nominees to the floor at this year’s District Conference.
Please note that each local church is to elect a Lay Member of Annual Conference to represent their congregation. If that Lay Member cannot serve, the local church must elect a replacement (if no Alternate Lay Member has already been elected). If a Lay Equalizing Member cannot serve, however, the District Nominations Committee will supply that person’s replacement from its list of already elected Alternate Members. Any Equalizing Lay Member who cannot serve should therefore contact their District Office as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for a substitute to be arranged.