On Sunday the 2022 session of the Texas Annual conference opens in Houston. Annual conferences are one of the longest-standing traditions of Methodism. Dating all the way back to John Wesley, who would convene Methodist preachers from across England to check on their ministry, make decisions for the movement, and disseminate important information.
These yearly meetings remain a crucial part of our church life. The General Conference—representatives from all over the world—meets every 4 years to pass legislation for the whole UMC. Annual conferences are collections of more locally bound churches (in the US) that come together every year and over the year, the conference oversees the resources of the connection, appoints pastors in its area, and empowers congregations for ministry. Conferences come in many shapes and sizes and every one has their own personality and quirks. Ours—the Texas Annual Conference—covers an area from Tyler and Athens to Victoria and over to Beaumont and the Louisana border. It’s a diverse place with over 600 churches and more than 1000 clergy members.
As you can imagine, such a gathering is never without conflict. The spirit of conferences is to be one of worship and holy conferencing. At its best, it is a place where difference makes us stronger and we can rejoice in relationships. This will be interesting. It is the first time the conference has gathered physically since 2019. The delay of General Conference 2020 has left the impending split of the denomination in limbo. As a conference, we are not of one mind about what the future should hold, and the conversations about disaffiliation, assets, pensions, and human sexuality will be deep and difficult. Please be in prayer for our church delegates and delegates from around the conference.
Our Administrative Board has reviewed the pre-conference journal and discussed the items that will come before delegates. If you would like to read the reports and resolutions you can find them online at 2022 Annual Conference (txcumc.org). There is also the schedule for the conference if you would like to watch the live stream of any sessions or worship services.