|Bishop Jeremiah J. Park|
Last year was my first Annual Conference with you. My wife, Lisa, and I immensely enjoyed getting to know you and discovering the depth of Christian faith and commitment within the hearts and lives of God’s people in central and northeastern Pennsylvania.
Under the quadrennial theme of “Alive in Christ Together,” we celebrated who we are as a people of God “on a journey of faith.” Lisa and I are looking forward to greeting you at Messiah College once again.
The theme for this year’s Annual Conference session will be “Alive in Christ Together; Raising up Transformational Leaders.”
The United Methodist Church defines the mission of the church as, “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” To fulfill the mission, four areas of focus were identified by our denomination:
- Raising up principled Christian leaders
- Congregational development, by creating new places for new people, and vitalizing the congregations for mission and ministry.
- Improving global health by stomping out the killer diseases like malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis.
- Ministry with the poor.
We believe that these four areas are the most critical places where our church can make a huge difference in fulfilling the mission of Making disciples and transforming the world.
This year, during our holy conferencing, we will have a time of focusing on raising up transformational leaders as we affirm and celebrate that we are God’s people in mission.
As clergy and laity we all know how critical it is for us to be transformational leaders for such a time as this. Indeed the mission field is ripe for transformational leaders to lead the church and to serve the world in the name of Jesus Christ with the love of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The United Methodist Church has a clear understanding that an Annual Conference is the basic body of the church. All clergy have his or her membership in the Annual Conference and each church is represented by at least one lay member to the Annual Conference. Please note that we do not have “lay delegates” to the Annual Conference — they are members of the Annual Conference. Clergy and laity alike, as members of the Annual Conference there is no more important responsibility than to be present and participating in the conference sessions. your presence throughout the session is not only expected, but is required.
Our gathering in June as the Susquehanna Annual Conference will be a celebration of who we are, and Whose we are, on a grand scale. It will be one of the most exciting and uplifting witnesses of the United Methodists of the Susquehanna Annual Conference.
Together we will worship, praise, pray, hear the words, sing dance, tell stories and share testimonies, discuss, debate, discern, liberate, decide, eat have fellowship, sleep, rest, and meet new friends in Jesus, all to the glory of God.
Please make every effort to be present.
As your resident bishop I am looking forward to our gathering as an Annual Conference with a heightened sense of expectation of what God is going to do with us. Your prayer for the Conference is greatly appreciated. Please know that your faithfulness as partners in the mission and ministry of the Susquehanna Annual Conference means so much to all of us — to the church of Jesus Christ, to the world, and to our God we worship and serve.
See you at Messiah College in June. May God’s love, peace and joy continue to abide with you evermore abundantly in all that you do. Amen.
— Bishop Jeremiah J. Park