Cylo, the Lancaster Barnstormers mascot was among the guests to greet Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference on the afternoon of Thursday, May 20.
The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference convened its 2010 Annual Conference on the afternoon of Thursday, May 20, by singing the traditional opening hymn, “And are we yet alive.” Bishop Peggy Johnson introduced Anne Jacobs, president of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry, who opened the session with prayer. Bishop Johnson acknowledged the desire to include young people in Holy Conferencing and that The Big Event youth rally will be held at Lancaster: First UMC on Saturday, May 22.
Conference Secretary Rodney Miller led the adoption of the Rules of Order, unanimously approved. He noted that the Conference Consent Calendar will be voted on later.
Larry Leister, at microphone 4, recommended removal of Resolution 2010-14 from the Consent Calendar.
Stephen Drachler, executive director of United Methodist Advocacy, spoke about the new name for A United Methodist Witness in Pennsylvania. “We are in a war over gambling in Pennsylvania. We’re David against Goliath. We, United Methodists, are in a war over what is right.” He asked the conference to be vigilant about gambling and other issues, and requested that they tune in to the work of UM Advocacy online: www.unitedmethodistadvocacy.org or umadvocacypa on Facebook. In September, Advocacy will host a statewide summit on poverty in Pennsylvania.
Jacqui Sheeley introduced the mayor of Lancaster City, Mr. Rick Gray, who welcomed the conference to Lancaster. He noted the historic significance of Lancaster as the place where William signed a Peace Treaty in 1744 with Native Americans. He encouraged everyone to walk and enjoy the city’s many restaurants, 300 shops, and historic sites.
Rev. Gary Harke, executive director of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, greeted the conference and invited everyone to become knowledgeable of the council’s work through its website, www.Pachurches.org or www.pachurchesadvocacy.org, where churches will find resources for the Poverty Summit in September. He wished everyone a holy conference and noted the centennial of the PA Council of Churches next year, in 2011.
Mr. Royal Pinder, co-chair of the Episcopacy Committee, thanked Bishop Peggy Johnson, and acknowledged the need for the bishop holistic care of the bishop in the midst of her busy schedule. Rev. Michael Johnson, Bishop Johnson’s husband thanked everyone for their prayers. Bishop Johnson gave thanks for the Episcopacy Committee, for its work and support. Mr. Pinder thanked Mrs. Amy Botti, Bishop Johnson’s executive secretary, Rev. Dr. David Fife, Bishop’s Assistant, and Rev. Daniel Ellis-Killian, Ecumenical Officer, for their support of Bishop Johnson.
Bishop Johnson welcomed Dean Maxine Clark Beach from Drew Theological Seminary.
She then introduced a video celebrating the 75thanniversary of The Upper Room. For more information: www.upperroom.org/75.
The conference also watched a video from United Methodist Communications on its new Imagine No Malaria initiative, which, in addition to distributing bednets, also makes a difference through healthcare and education. Bishop Johnson encouraged every church to take an offering for to support this new initiative: www.imaginenomalaria.org.
Rev. Margret Powell, pastor of Solid Rock UMC in Philadelphia, led the conference in grace prior to the evening meal.