Please join us this Thursday evening June 23, at 7 p.m. in church as Liz Burrell Russel shares her story of loss, healing and renewal in the midst of tragedy. Liz Burrell Russell, a former manager at the Pathway Home in Yountville was working on March 9, 2018, when a former program resident killed three staffers and then himself. Liz was allowed to leave by the shooter that day, but her colleagues were not. Since then, she has dedicated herself to helping fix the issue of gun violence in America. Over the past two years Liz has shared her story as a Survivor Fellow with Everytown for Gun Safety, helping to humanize the toll of gun violence and push for local, state, and national change. This as well as supporting Rock the Ride, a Benefit Ride and Walk for Gun Violence Prevention. For 2022, Liz and her team are hoping to raise $5000 at this year's 5th Rock the Ride in Yountville.
Liz will be tell her survivor story as well as her many efforts and further opportunities for others to address the terrible problem of gun violence. Information and sign-ups for this year’s Rock the Ride, taking place on Saturday June 25 in Yountville, will be available. Light refreshments will be served. A free will offering of $15 is suggested, with all funds going to Moms Demand Action in CA.
Please call the church at 707 963 2839 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org to rsvp or with questions.
This year’s Annual Conference Session (ACS) of the California Nevada United Methodist Church was a successful gathering, held June 10-13th in Sacramento. Lay delegate Dawn Leininger and I presented our 2022 ACS report on Sunday June 19th after worship, but unfortunately, it was not recorded for those not present. So here is a shortened version for all those who are interested.
Both clergy and laity represented local churches as well as the acting Bishop, the district superintendents, appointive cabinet and extended members of the annual conference. In all, there were 400-600 in attendance.
We began at 9 a.m. with a worship program and communion. Interim Bishop Sally Dyck introduced Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. bishop of the San Francisco Bay area from 2008 to 2016.
“How long I will be here? I don’t know how long that will be,” stated Bishop Dyck in her opening address regarding her interim status. “To not have your resident bishop for some is not a big deal, but for others, it—is--a BIG deal.” Bishop Dyck focused on the Jewish meaning of hope as “intentional, deliberate focus on God” stating, “we must focus on God and be about our mission to get us through… Do your job--your ministry! Do you part and empower others to do theirs.”
Rev. Brian Adkins introduced new legislation to recommend the formation of a Clergy Wellness Task Force.
The Jurisdictional and General Conference delegation spoke in support of the upcoming Western Jurisdictional Conference, November 2-5, 2022, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Over a dozen retired pastors answered roll call for service of more than fifty years.
District Lay Leader reports were given by Tyree Johnson, Bay District; Murphy Tsan, El Camino; George Beckman, Great Northern; Diana Bolls, Central Valley; and Kelly Vaughn, Los Rios. Vaughn will be moving out of state and will be replaced by Kandi Wieder. Each district has continued to serve their communities in various ways including food programs, forums to present community issues, clothing drives, community meals, online presence, after school programs, hybrid VBS and more. A new Lay Leadership Award was presented to Kelly Vaughn for “igniting fire in all of us.”
Rev. Dr. Izzy Alvaran reported on Reconciling Ministry Network with more than 85 churches in our conference participating, while encouraging more churches to join.
Bishop Dyck led us in prayer then presented a unique perspective on the state of our AC. She said, “it’s a mess”. The appointed Bishop is gone, Covid is still with us, churches are shrinking, the global church is still in an uproar, and there is grid lock everywhere you look, no matter the topic. It’s a mess and there is no other way to put it.
All the candidates for commissioning, ordination, local pastors, associate membership, or inquiring status were presented and approved by the clergy.
The day included fixing of appointments for Bay District, Central Valley District and El Camino Real District.
The Report of Ordained Ministry included:
Presentation of those to Receive their License for Ministry as a Local Pastor: 12
Presentation of those persons as Associate Members: 2
Jeffrey Holder, Betsy Stockdale
Presentation of those persons received by Transfer: 2
South Carolina Annual Conference, Rio Texas Annual Conference
Commissioning toward Elder's Orders: 4
Ordination and Full Connection as a Deacon: 3
Ordination and Full Connection as an Elder: 5
Full Connection as an Elder: 1
Rev. Susan Grace Smith summarized the Call to Wholeness program and recognized the class of 2022 along with ordination anniversary years, from 35 years to five years, a solid group of 24 people took part. After the introductions, two of the class (Greg Bergquist and Ofa Ha’unga) briefly testified to their experience so far.
The Board of Trustees report reviewed additions to the Trust Clause of paragraph 2553 which expires on 12/31/23. In order for a local church to disaffiliate from the Annual Conference, it will have to pay a share of the Boy Scout of American settlement, any unpaid bills, tithe, pastor compensation and 20% of the property fair market value. If the property is later sold, the conference has the first right of refusal.
Chair of Conference Finance and Administration (CFA) Rev. Kristin Stoneking reported that our annual conference is one out of eight conferences who gave full apportionments last year achieving 100% giving over the last 5 years. The budget for 2023 was also presented for discussion, with voting to approve taking place Sunday.
Lunch events included the Bystander Intervention led by Ossama Kamel CAIR Sacramento Valley/Central California Community Organizing explaining values of safety, steps to intervene, and how to deal with an attacker’s anger.
The California-Nevada Conference Committee on Reconciliation (CCOR) sponsored “What Will the #UMC Look Like Tomorrow” featuring guest speakers looking into the future of our denomination.
This past year, 17 pastors or spouses passed away. The afternoon Memorial Service honored their service, with a moment taken to remember lay persons who have passed this last year also.
Eight church plants were held up in prayer including Dublin (Rev. Chelsea Constant); Campbell: West African Ministry (Rev. Daniel Gbundema); Mountain View: Front Porch (Rev. Sam Blewis); Milpitas: Peace UMC (Rev. Charles Tran); San Ramon Valley, Korean (Daniel John Sik Kim); Fresno: Hispanic-Latino (Pastor Vicky Flores); Santa Rosa: Open Table College Ministry (Rev. Lindsey Bell-Kerr); Sacramento: Table Farm and Table Bread (Chloe McElyea).
Church closures approved included (Item 3a) Rio Linda Community church; (Item 3b) Clear Lake Oaks UMC; (Item 3c) Exeter UMC and (Item 3d) Elverta UMC.
Pastor Helen Kung testified to God’s grace during the fire at St. Paul’s UMC San Jose.
Bishop Sally Dyck encouraged the audience to clap when she finished one section of the ordination service on Sunday. Those to be commissioned and ordained answered questions before being prayed over by the bishop.
Great Northern Superintendent Blake Busick read the Romans 12:9-16. As well as English, the Gospel reading in Mark 9:35-39 was read by other District Superintendents in Korean, Japanese and Tongan.
“Ministry has some things in common with donkeys—play with me here,” stated Bishop Dyck in her opening portion of the sermon entitled Riding the Donkey. Bishop Dyck went on to describe the many times donkeys were ridden in the Bible including Jesus riding into Jerusalem. “The donkey is the metaphor for following the direction of God …riding the donkey is for everyone who wants to follow Jesus! ALL are called to the service of ALL! … so, ride the donkey!”
The afternoon plenary session fixed appointments in the Great Northern, Los Rios District and Beyond the Local Church. The Core Team explained the team’s purpose and shared their committees’ activities this last year, along with a Q & A time.
The Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) report was given by pastor Nathan Sam-Whistler from Schurz/Yerington UMC in Nevada. Findings were shared from the interim report on the brutal Methodist involvement in Indian missions and Indian schools on Native Americans over a period of close to a hundred years. Native congregations at Church of the Redwoods, Klamath, and Round Valley UMC continue to deal with this legacy of cruelty and neglect.
Pastor Iunisi Tovo of Sebastopol and Sonoma UMCs presented the report of the Commission on Religion and Race. Activities to support racial, cultural and justice issues included Core support training for pastors and SPRCs in cross racial/cross cultural appointments; grants to ethnic churches to support leadership development.
The CFA budget for 2023 was amended and approved.
Equitable Compensation Report recommendations and Board of Pensions and Health Benefits report recommendations were approved. Conference Claimants Endowment Board presented a gift of 2 million dollars to the conference and $106,000 to Retired Clergy Association.
The Clergy Mental Health Task Force proposal was approved for 2011-23.
Recognition of Retirees and Licenses of Local Pastors to receive medallions included: 16 all told. The class of 2022 represented 438 ½ years of service.
Youth and Young Adult Conference delegation members were recognized and Rev. Jacey Pickens-Jones at First UMC in Richmond was introduced as the new interim Director of Youth and Young Peoples Ministry.
Episcopal nominations affirmed and recommended by the ACS included: 19. New bishops elected will start their assignments on January 21, 2023 after the upcoming many months discernment process.
The 2022 ACS closed with prayer at noon June 13th.
Do not forget! Church movie night coming up on Wednesday July 13th at the Cameo Cinema, 4:30 p.m. show of “Elvis”, the new bio-pic from director Baz Luhrmann. Please buy your tickets online or at the Cameo box office. We will see the film together and then go to Tra Vigne pizzeria for discussion over dinner. All are welcome! Questions? Ask Pastor Burke!
Blessings and stay cool this week,