Annual Conference 2020

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Words of worship witness to unity, leadership, sacrifice

2020 Annual Conference worship services

By John W. Coleman

The 2020 Eastern PA Annual Conference, Oct. 13-14, began and ended in worship, so fitting for a conference that begins each year’s session by singing dutifully Charles Wesley’s venerable hymn, “And Are We Yet Alive?” 

Indeed, as the Rev. Sue Ketterer played and sang the hymn solo for the Clergy Session held on Zoom, the third verse must have seemed especially timely in a year of living dangerously through relentless assaults of a pandemic, politics, police brutality and protests:

What troubles have we seen,
what mighty conflicts past,
fightings without, and fears within,
since we assembled last!

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2020 Conference uses little time to make big decisions

Numerous reports, awards presented, all pre-recorded

By John W. Coleman

To ensure members’ safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 234th Eastern PA Annual Conference conducted its business session solely online Oct. 13, with an agreed-upon, reduced agenda that it processed in under four hours via a Zoom video-conferencing webinar. 

The historic, perhaps shortest session on record, presided over by Bishop Peggy Johnson, featured worship and presentations of only essential resolutions and reports—all pre-recorded. The live portion included legislative questions and answers but no amendments or debate. Non-voting persons could view the livestreamed session on the Conference’s Facebook page.

Votes were cast using the secure, online eBallot system and a Zoom vote by telephone option. The reduced, online format was approved in a pre-conference online session August 26 that voted for temporary rules changes.

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