I greet you today in the precious name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. I pray that each of you are in eager anticipation of the joy and expectancy that is associated with this Advent & Christmas season.
I am writing today to let you know that our Annual Conference Sessions Team is currently working on some exciting plans for the next gathering of our Annual Conference in June, 2018.
Our team has been working on plans for the potential of a simultaneous mission experience to take place during our time together and events that we hope will draw in a wider circle of our churches into the life and activity of our Annual Conference Session.
Most significantly, the Sessions team has been involved in significant conversation around how we can begin to re-claim the participation of a larger number of youth in our session. Much of that conversation has centered around the timing of Annual Conference which currently has much of its meeting during the time when our youth are in school.
For that reason, the Conference Sessions team is announcing that the dates for the 2018 Annual Conference Session at Hofstra University will be Thursday-Sunday, June 7-10, 2018.
I am writing to you now so that you can place these dates on your calendar and make plans accordingly. I am fully behind this shift in times and believe that we can make plans that will provide a meaningful and inspirational time together. Here are some of the plans being formulated:
1) Ordination Celebration on Sunday, June 10.
- All Pastors are required to be in attendance to support the ordination of new colleagues in ministry and have their appointments fixed for the next year. Each pastor is to work with their local church for lay pulpit supply for that Sunday. This is not considered a “vacation day” for pastors but is a part of their pastoral responsibility.
- Local Churches will be encouraged to bring confirmation students for a mass confirmation experience during worship.
- Baptisms will be performed for those who desire this to be done along with a Re-Affirmation of the Baptismal Covenant for everyone.
- Plans are being made to “live stream” the service to local churches across the Annual Conference in an attempt to truly connect the entirety of the New York Annual Conference.
2) Delegate voting for the Special 2109 General Conference Session.
3) Simultaneous Mission Work being done in Nassau County during our session.
4) Reports/updates on Puerto Rico disaster recovery with Bishop Hector Ortiz from Puerto Rico being present with us.
More work is being done on speakers, workshops, and other relevant reporting.
I pray that you will begin to anticipate and pray for a joyful, engaging, and blessing-filled Annual Conference session. Put these dates on your calendar now and begin planning for your attendance at our annual meeting together.
Until then, please know of my continued prayer for the health and vitality of your life, your church, and your ministry setting.
The Journey Continues, . . .
Thomas J. Bickerton