Annual Conference 2010, Day III

by Jacob Juncker

I had the distinct pleasure last night of attending a dinner in support of Mission Guatemala.  Mission Guatemala is the calling of Rev. Tom Heaton.  Tom has lived in Guatemala for the past several years; however, his support and mission in that country has been going on for much longer than the time he has lived there.  During his presentation, Tom mentioned that he needed something like 6 families to donate $100 a month in order to fund the operation of an orphanage.  One of the pastors in attendance stood up and said, My church will pledge $100 a month if Rev. A and Rev. B’s churches pledge the same.  The challenge was not accepted by the other two pastors.  I so wanted to stand and say that Lafayette-Christ would meet the challenge.

I hope to invite Tom to Lafayette-Christ in July or August to explain his ministry to the Lafayette area United Methodist Churches and Evangelical Lutheran Churches.  It will be a night of fellowship and inspiration.  Hopefully we can not only support him financially, but also organize teams to go help construct the preschool, orphanage and clinic that are all part of his mission.

As I sat and listened to Tom last night I was reminded that mission is not something we do extra.  Mission is the very thing that defines us as followers of Christ.  Jesus’ ministry was one of outreaching love.  It is through mission that we continue Christs’ ministry in the world…this is not something we can put off as a “second-mile” offering.  Mission must be fully integrated into our faith life.

In the last half of the year, congregational leaders will begin looking at next year’s local church budgets.  Currently, Christ United Methodist Church does not have a fully funded missions line in its operating budget.  Currently, missions at the church are part of second-mile giving.  Last year, a missions line was added to the budget, it is funded by taking 25% of all adult class offering.  A pastor’s discretionary fund was also established as part of the budget thanks to a legacy gift.  Heads up, I hope to include a larger discretionary fund and a funded missions budget in 2011 which will include budgeted donations to all of our “faith promises” and, hopefully, Mission Guatemala.  This will, I pray, allow missions to become a more integrated part of who we are as the people of Christ United Methodist Church.

Highlights from Conference:

  • mandatory property insurance is no more.  The conference will now recommend an insurance plan which should “provide better service at a lower price” for most churches.
  • a motion was passed to allow pastors to take between 2 and 4 weeks off before their reappointment.  How this will be lived out is to be negotiated by the pastor and the Staff Parish chair.
  • Rev. George Dinwiddie was honored for being the oldest living clergy person in the conference.  He was ordained in 1949.  He is 98 years old.

To see the official highlights, click here.