By Tom Salsgiver, Secretary, Northeastern Jurisdiction
Quilted by Connection is the theme for this 20th Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Delegates, reserves and guests will gather with our 10 Annual Conferences for Holy Conferencing.
Beginning with organizing and preparatory meetings, delegates, reserves and youth delegates will gather on Sunday and Monday, July 10-11. On Tuesday, our Holy Conferencing will take the shape of interviews of Episcopal Candidates who have been endorsed by their Annual Conferences and/or by one of the denominationally recognized caucuses.
The actual first session of our conference will begin Wednesday morning when we gather to worship and celebrate the saints who have gone before us. We will remember those bishops, spouses and delegates of the jurisdiction who have died since we last met in Charleston, WV July, 2012. We will not only remember their lives, but we will find our hope and future in the sharing of Holy Communion.
The next two and one-half days will be spent in worship, in voting for a bishop or bishops (depending on what General Conference determines), hearing reports and voting on issues such as the budget, our Plan of Organization, and other resolutions that come before us. We will also hear a report on the state of the jurisdiction and there will be a celebration of the retirement of Bishop Marcus Matthews.
The Jurisdictional Conference will adjourn after the Consecration of the person or persons elected to serve as Bishops.
This 20th Jurisdictional Conference will find an equal number of lay and clergy delegates and reserves who were chosen by their Annual Conference. The number of voting delegates is 172.
In addition, we will have 20 youth delegates who sit with their Annual Conference Delegation. They will have voice, but not vote. The Northeastern Jurisdiction is the only jurisdiction in the US that has a specific provision to intentionally include youth in each of the 10 delegations.
The theme, Quilted by Connection, is certainly appropriate not only for our meeting in Lancaster, but for all of us as United Methodists. Lancaster is rich in heritage for the United Methodist Church and the predecessor denominations. As the NEJ website registration page says, “Like the iconic quilts, the people of the United Methodist Church are a collection of spiritual and cultural expressions connected to each other….” The colorful quilt becomes a visual image of the diversity that is central to the identity of the churches of the Northeastern Jurisdiction.”
The Biblical verse that is the anchor of our time together comes from Ephesians 4:16. Paul writes, “From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.”
Just as a quilt is joined together, so we as the body of Christ and specifically as the United Methodist Church, we are joined together as we are called to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We cannot do this alone—but only as a body working together can we grow in building Christ’s Kingdom.
As you read this Advance Daily Christian Delegate, my prayer is that we will dedicate ourselves to a time of preparation for this Jurisdictional Conference. May we covenant to be in prayer for our time together, to always be in Holy Conferencing and make sure that we are knit together as the body of Christ.
Looking forward to gathering with you!
Be sure to read Bishop Peggy Johnson’s latest blog essay: “NEJ Conference: Calling us to pray and be ‘salty,” in which she calls us all to pray fervently for the spiritual and electoral success of this Jurisdictional Conference. You can find helpful prayers to use in spiritual director Maryanne Ditter‘s 30-day Prayer Guide for Jurisdictional Conference, available for download from our conference website.
Also, visit the NEJ Conference webpage to: