By Connie Shelton,
Director of Communications and Connectional Ministries
Charge conference. Two simple words that evoke sighs from pastors, frustration from church secretaries, dread from parishioners, exhaustion from district superintendents and fatigue from district secretaries.
Perhaps, we can reclaim charge conference this year! The goal of charge conference is dialogue and discernment. Charge conference is an intentional gathering for reflection. How is the POWER of the Holy Spirit moving in your congregation and what are your next steps to join God's mission in the world?
Each charge conference gathering will be centered in a time of prayer and invitation to consider how God is moving among each faith community. Each superintendent will conduct charge conference in her/his own way. Some charge conferences will be gathered in clusters or groups while others will discern within a single congregation. Regardless of the make-up of charge conference, the ethos of the gatherings will be the same: open and authentic holy conferencing evidencing our core values of love, generosity, justice and apprenticeship.
Also, charge conference forms will be a little different this year. We will be using an online system. Go to www.mississippi-umc.org and click on CHARGE CONFERENCE FORMS.
After the forms are completed, the data needed for the database will be imported into the database system. (One of the many benefits is that district secretaries will not need to "rekey" data!) Pastors, even though you are completing all forms online and submitting them, you are asked to print two copies of every form and bring it to charge conference for signatures.