Bishop Teresa Snorton,
Chrisitan Methodist Episcopal District
"An Essential Church: Poised for the 21st Century"
The Investment Factor
A Changed People, Changing the World
Bishop Teresa Snorton's Presentation 2014 Pastor's Conference
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MEDITATION FOR SPRING/SUMMER 2016 NEWSLETTER
SPECIAL ANNUAL CONFERENCE EDITION
MEDITATION – WHY DO WE HAVE ANNUAL CONFERENCE?
Annual Conference is a tradition in Methodism whose roots date back to John Wesley, the founder. Wesley believed in gathering together as the body of Christ to worship, give an account and plan for the future discipleship and evangelism of the church. He called this concept “Holy Conferencing”, which is sometimes referred to as “Christian Conferencing”. The Methodist and Wesleyan traditions are making conscious efforts to reclaim this concept when we gather. It was a frequent reference point at the recent United Methodist Church General Conference that I attended.
The concept is biblical in the sense that the body of Christ was reminded in scripture of the importance of the gathering together and the assembling of God’s people (Hebrews 10: 24-25):
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
The Old Testament is full of stories of the people of God gathering together as a way of dealing with the turning points in their lives (Read these chapters: Numbers 20-21, I Samuel 8, Ist Chronicles 23, 2nd Chronicles 29, Nehemiah 9, Esther 4, Isaiah 34, 45, 49, Joel 2, Micah 2, and Zephaniah 2). In the New Testament Matthew 23, Luke 13 and Acts 1, and Acts 6 echo the theme of “gathering together”. Only a few weeks ago we observed Pentecost, our remembrance of when the believers were gathered together in the Upper Room, as Jesus had instructed, and the power of the Holy Spirit came down upon them (Acts 2). That text says, “they were on one accord in one place”. Acts 2: 44-47 then journals the key to the growth of the early church:
“44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
The concept of “holy or Christian conferencing” are intended to help us live as the early church lived together, as well as follow the model created by John Wesley. Eight principles are essential to this model:
1.Every person is a child of God
It should not be difficult to see how this kind of spirit at Annual Conference (as well as at General, District, Quarterly, and Church Conference) and every gathering of the people called Methodists would make a difference and reflect the spirit of Christ, even as we do our business.
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Bishop Teresa Snorton,
Telephone : 205-929-1145
4901 Lloyd Noland Parkway
Fairfield, AL 35064
P. O. Box 13383, Birmingham, AL 35202
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