A Connectional Denomination
June 10, 2022
One of the defining characteristics of the United Methodist Church is our commitment to being a connectional church. This connection began with John Wesley, as he recognized the need for an organized system of communication and accountability. This connection continues today. “Every local church is linked to an interconnected network of organizations that join together in mission and ministry, allowing us to accomplish far more than any one local church or person could alone.” You can read more about this connection here.
We see the connection at work in many ways.
I once received a phone call from a person in Arkansas whose son lived in Colorado but was on a river trip in the Grand Canyon when an accident happened and he had to be air lifted to Flagstaff. I visited with him, offering pastoral care until he was able to return home.
Our family once was traveling from Great-Grandma’s back to the airport a few hours away when one kid got sick in the car. We stopped at the UMC in the next town and washed the car seat out, using their hose!
You and I are making a difference in Ukraine, thanks to our support of UMCOR. This article explains more. If you want to give, by the way, you can put a check in the offering plate and designate it “UMCOR-Ukraine” and we will get it there.
Our connectional nature is also seen in our conferencing. Each year, our local church has Charge Conference, when all the members of the church join together for the business that we do: election of leadership, budget conversations, pastoral salaries.
Each church then sends members to our Desert Southwest Conference’s Annual Conference. This is made up of each pastor who is a member of the Conference (we are members of a conference, not a local church), plus one lay person (non-clergy person) for each clergy. So, we have an equal balance of pastor and laity. We come together to do the work of the Conference: elect leadership, budget conversations, ordination, and more.
Our Annual Conference is taking place this week, beginning today. It is “hybrid,” with some of us in person in Mesa and some of us on Zoom. All will participate fully in the business before us, with both voice and vote. It is a shorter time together: only two full (VERY full!) days rather than three and a half days. As you might imagine, we are limited in some of the things that we are able and not able to do in that shortened time.
You will hear more after this weekend from our members who are attending. In the meantime, I invite your prayers for all of us as we do the work that keeps us connectional. We have six lay persons who are attending, plus our three appointed pastors. In addition, the St. Mark’s voice will be heard through our retired pastors who attend St. Mark’s and Alberta Farnsworth, our Conference lay leader. Pray for patience with technology, both in the room and online! Pray for that work that is before us to be greeted with grace and discernment. Pray above all for God’s Holy Spirit to be present.
See you soon!
- 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary
- 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care
- 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website
To access our livestream service:
- From the main menu on our website click “Worship.” -OR-
- Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.