The UMC’s Northeastern Jurisdiction bishops, committee members and delegates arrived over the weekend and today for the 2016 NEJ Conference at the Lancaster County Convention Center and Marriott Hotel. Already familiar with the setting from Annual Conference in June, our Eastern PA Conference Host Committee, with volunteers wearing red vests, is already providing “radical hospitality” to registrants.
Youth from the jurisdiction’s 10 conferences arrived Friday for their two-day quadrennial NEJ Youth Rally. Fifty attendees, including 34 youth, came from conferences to join in business sessions, worship and fellowship.
The bishops and conference members will gather at about 7 PM Monday evening for a half-hour Act of Repentance and Healing toward Indigenous People ceremony. Eastern PA Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) members will participate and probably recount some of the painful Lancaster-area history shared at our Annual Conference.
Episcopal interview groups and nominees will each meet Monday night in prayer sessions; and small-group interview sessions with each endorsed nominee begin Tuesday morning and continue throughout the day.
Tuesday, after Holy Communion and a Memorial Service, host Bishop Peggy Johnson will open the session by welcoming attendees, followed by a roll call and other preliminaries. Delegates will hear the Inter-Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee’s report, then certify the retirement of Bishop Marcus Matthews and the number of bishops to be elected, and then hold the first ballot before lunch.
The Episcopal Address and more jurisdictional reports, resolutions, officer elections and proposals will be heard and deliberated over three days, as ballots are continually taken until the approved number of bishops–presumably two–are elected. The conference will celebrate Bishop Marcus Matthews’ retirement Thursday evening.
The eagerly awaited assignment of conferences and of bishops to their respective episcopal areas will occur Friday morning, after which leaders of those areas will have a chance to meet. At 11:15 AM will come the Consecration of Bishops, followed by adjournment at 1 PM.
Tracy Bass, Jane Bonner, Irving Cotto, Joseph F. DiPaolo, Judith K. Ehninger (Delegation Co-Chair), Jordan Harris, Robin M. Hynicka, Ann C. Jacob, Krystl D. Johnson, David L. Koch, Clarita A. Krall, Christopher J. Kurien, Melinda McKonly, Lydia E. Munoz, Jeffrey A. Raffauf, Aaron J. Smith, Lillian Smith, Dawn E.Taylor-Storm (Delegation Chair), Lenora Thompson, Robert J. Wilt and Wilhelmina J. Young
You can find daily issues of the DCA (Daily Christian Advocate), with full, daily conference coverage and interesting features on the conference webpage. You can also view the conference via live-stream video. And you can follow comments and contribute your own views on the NEJ Conference Facebook page.
Bishop Johnson and the Eastern PA Conference delegation ask that all churches, clergy and lay members please keep them and their NEJ colleagues in constant prayer for God’s benevolent guidance and care, and for the leading of the Holy Spirit, as they make important decisions for the conferences of this jurisdiction during this week.