Monday, December 22, 2014

United Methodist Advocacy strategy gathering

Front (l-r): Dai Morgan (WPAUMC), Bishop Peggy Johnson (EPAUMC), Bishop Jeremiah Park (SUSUMC), Bob Coombe (EPAUMC). Standing (l-r): David Brown (EPAUMC), Mark Reisinger (SUSUMC), Kelly Smith (WPAUMC), Bishop Thomas Bickerton (WPAUMC) Rodney Miller (EPAUMC), Mike Bealla (SUSUMC), William Meekens (WPAUMC).
By Rev. Mike Bealla

The bishops and several representatives from the three Pennsylvania Conferences recently met at the Susquehanna Conference Center on October 28, 2014, to envision a new strategy for state-wide advocacy. In February 2013 the United Methodist Advocacy Board dissolved when the former director moved on. Realizing the important role of advocacy at the state level for the three conferences, the future of advocacy was placed in the hands of the bishops.

After prayerful study, Bishops Thomas Bickerton (Western Pennsylvania Conference), Peggy Johnson (Eastern Pennsylvania Conference), and Jeremiah Park (Susquehanna Conference) called a team of persons together for Holy Conferencing around the future direction of UM Advocacy. During the gathering the potential for significant impact through the combined advocacy of the three conferences was lifted up as essential to our social witness across the state.

A plan was drafted which will seek to hire a part-time person to develop an effective means of resourcing our local congregations and our United Methodist legislators to be about the task of advocacy. A job description has been publicized in all three conferences since November 24, prayerfully seeking the best person possible for this creative opportunity as a new way of being in advocacy is developed. In addition, conversations between the Church and Society Boards and our Mission and Outreach Team will mark a stronger connection between our conferences.

Please pray for God’s Spirit to birth a new and effective means of United Methodist Advocacy as we claim the state as part of a world parish.

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