EASTERTIDE promises a time of opportunities and possibilities as we wait for Pentecost and the fulfillment of Jesus' promise for God to provide us with the Holy Spirit.
We are reminded each year as nature breaks forth in new life, that as spiritual beings we can overcome the temporal, the material, the finite to embrace the spiritual, the infinite and renewed life. The old continues to pass away to make room for the new.
As Hoosier United Methodists, we are in a process of change as we continue to move from two conferences, two ways of ministry, two mindsets on a variety of issues into a new united way of doing church. We prepare for what comes as we seek God's will for The United Methodist Church in Indiana.
At the same time, we take the opportunity to RETHINK CHURCH. We plan a new way of doing annual conference in June, including a day not only to become acquainted with new neighbors in ten new districts, but also to reach out to the residents of Muncie with 80 or more volunteer projects across the city and county.
In this issue of your Hoosier United Methodists Together, Bishop Mike Coyner proclaims that at annual conference we are "going green," not only with new traditions and schedules, but also with less paper and printed materials and more Web-based information.
During this coming annual conference session, lay and clergy members from our 1,200 congregations statewide will be voting on 32 amendments to the constitution of The United Methodist Church, with 23 of them related to the denomination's structure as a global body. The remaining nine amendments are related to church and conference membership; annual and jurisdictional conference composition, including boundaries; inclusiveness of the church and membership; representation of newly created conferences at general, jurisdictional and central conferences; the judicial council; episcopal elections; fiduciary responsibility; and clergy participation in the election of delegates to general, jurisdictional and central conferences.
Not all agree with the passage of these amendments. Riley Case writes in the pejorative on Viewpoints. In next month's issue, we will hear a viewpoint for the passage of many of these amendments. In the meantime, members can read all 32 amendments with explanations by logging on to the Annual Conference. Holy conferencing begins.
In the meantime, readers can:
Learn about Covenant Relationships between Hoosier congregations and individual missionaries of the General Board of Global Ministries, second mile giving beyond your General Church askings. Indiana needs more of these relationships to sustain our missionaries.
Get acquainted with the Rev. Brian Durand, a young adult pastor who will be working with our congregations and their youth, young adults and campus ministries in the new conference as the first chosen associate director of the new conference;
Be remindedof the upcoming "Holy Friendship" clergy retreat with Bishop Coyner at St. Luke's UMC in Indianapolis April 20-21;
Be informed about a new partnership between the UMC and Methodists in Brazil.
All these plus more stories and bits of information as we move from the vision of a new conference to the reality of the Indiana Conference, your Indiana Conference. Embrace the infinite.
Daniel R. Gangler