“Believe in the journey of your own spirituality; faith knows no predefined path.”

2018 Annual Conference

The Desert Southwest Conference took place June 17 with a total attendance of 497 including clergy and laity. The Conference consists of 118 churches and 12 fellowships. Bishop Hoshibata chose the theme “Giving God our Best” with the accompanying scripture Colossians 3:12-15. Guest plenary speakers included Rose Glass who wondered what would need to change in all of us in order to make a vision reality. Rev. Gina Campbell led the laity session through exercises on forming and telling our faith stories. There were multiple opportunities for holy huddles helping us all to realize that if we give God our best, great things are possible. God calls us to be a courageous church: Loving Like Jesus, Acting for Justice and United in Hope.
We elected an Annual Conference Secretary, the Rev. Jennifer Lambert; four clergy to represent the Desert Southwestern Conference at the General Conference; ten clergy for the Western Jurisdictional Conference; and six laity as representatives to the Western Jurisdictional Conference. There were six Resolutions adopted by the annual conference, including a resolution to end family separation, another for the protection of persecuted Christians throughout the world, and appointing a gun violence task force prohibiting guns on church property.
Seven people were commissioned or ordained and five clergy members retired. Our Tom
Butcher was recognized as retiring and presented a gift.
Matt Ashley, Chair of the Conference Council on Finance advised that 71% of our churches were able to meet 100% of their apportionment goals. We approved the conference’s 2019 annual budget of $5,934,459.00, which was a 3% decrease from last year. Also approved was a 1.75% increase in 2019 salary ranges for exempt and non-exempt conference employees. Several resolutions were passed that will be sent to the General Conference.

A constitutional amendment was proposed to give women and girls equality with regard to assignments and positions in the United Methodist Church. This proposal passed.
This year there were several mission projects each of which raised substantial donations as follows: Arizona Justice for our Neighbors $5,832.66; Inn Project $11,386.03; and I Care for Tonga $12,404.67.
The Bishop provided background information regarding the agenda for the 2019 Special General Conference. He gave details about the One Church model that became available July 8, 2018 that a majority of the Bishops recommended for approval.
From our worship sessions and holy huddles, we all have to realize that if we give God our best and trust in God, great things will happen. God has already done something remarkable for us and only asks us to give our best.

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