by Rev. Nancy Cushman
¶ 601. The purpose of the annual conference is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all to the glory of God. (Excerpted from The United Methodist Official Resources 2012.)
The 2014 Desert Southwest Annual Conference will take place at the Glendale Renaissance Hotel and Spa in Glendale, Arizona June 26-29, 2014. “Ignite” is this year’s annual conference theme: Igniting a passion for Christ through evangelism, igniting a passion for Christ through worship, igniting a passion for Christ through leadership development, and igniting a passion for Christ through service. All areas are building on last year’s “Imagine…” theme, in which Bishop Hoshibata assigned the work of imagining new ways of doing ministry, imagining new ways of reaching out to new people, and looking at existing ministries and programs without fear of ending them if they are not fruitful endeavors. Last year we imagined what could be done and this year the Bishop hopes to ignite a passion for Christ in our leadership and that will burn within them igniting a passion for Christ in others.
Setting the tone and building excitement for the big event, Colin Noonan, Creative Arts Producer/Editor has worked with Rev. Rob Rynders, Rev. Dottie Escobido-Frank, Rev. Brian Kemp-Schlemmer, and Bishop Bob to produce a series of videos that focus on leadership, worship and evangelism, and new faith communities that will be published on the Conference website beginning May 5. Watch a Pre-Conference address video at http://desertsouthwestconference.org/annualconference .
Continuing last year’s paperless effort, the Annual Conference registration packet and Pre-Conference documents will be available through Guidebook, an event app that individuals can access at no cost. The Guidebook App will allow navigating through the various exhibits, learning about speakers, access to presentations, access to Pre-Conference documents, networking, and providing instant feedback about each session. The free app is compatible with iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch, Kindle Readers, and other Android devices. Simply download the App and then search for “Desert Southwest Annual Conference” in the Guidebook App to access the DSAC event guide. Windows smart phones and tablets, Blackberry users, and laptop users can access the same information via the mobile website at http://m.guidebook.com/guide/17454 . Links to everything mentioned are also available at http://desertsouthwestconference.org/annualconference . Please take the time to download the app before Annual Conference and review the Pre-Conference documents so that you are able to participate in the discussion and voting of legislation.
Setting the biblical foundation, Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society and Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Kuan, President of Claremont School of Theology will be guest speakers at this year’s Conference.
We will honor retirees, remember deaths from the past year, and praise God in multiple worship opportunities including a service of ordination.
The cabinet and other ministry team leaders will lead us in compelling presentations that will include a time for table discussions that might ignite a new mission or ministry. One presentation that is sure to ignite questions and conversation will be from Rev. David Summers about the Strategic Direction for The Desert Southwest Conference.
Imagine 5k is a walk/run fundraising event benefiting Imagine No Malaria. Individuals are encouraged to build teams by asking their friends and family to join them in the race or compete against them in the race. Either way offers plenty of opportunity for fun and making new friends within and outside of the church as well as playing a major part in saving lives by ending malaria. Registration is $20 and 100% of the money raised goes directly to Imagine No Malaria in which every $10 raised saves a life. Details about how to register as a runner or volunteer are available at www.imagine5k.org .
The Annual Conference Mission Project is an innovative twist on the simple sock drive. To ignite a spark of competition, each District will receive money for the purchase of socks and collect the socks in a designated bin at Annual Conference. Continuing the friendly competition people will be able to continue to add socks to their District’s collection bin throughout Annual Conference. On Sunday morning the competition ends and the socks will be given to a non-profit organization representative from each District. Why socks? Socks are one of the least donated but most needed necessities for individuals that are living in shelters or on the streets. Clean, dry feet are a major contributor to good health. To find out more about the mission project visit http://desertsouthwestconference.org/ac-mission-project .
On Saturday afternoon people will choose between multiple service projects benefiting organizations around the Annual Conference gathering space, and projects at the hotel that do not require travel or heavy lifting. Individuals are encouraged to wear their church t-shirt if they have one. Individuals without a church t-shirt can purchase an Annual Conference t-shirt online. Information about the service project options and how to order Annual Conference t-shirts will be posted at http://desertsouthwestconference.org/annualconference .
The mission of The Desert Southwest Conference is to empower leaders who create vital congregations. This year’s Annual Conference has been planned to ensure that everyone in attendance, as leaders of the church walk away with a memorable experience that has resourced to be an active contributor of the vitality of their church.