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The 2016 Desert Southwest Annual Conference was held in Glendale, Arizona from June 16th to June 19th. This year’s theme was “Infuse” – the fourth in a series of single-word themes that began in 2013 with “Imagine” and carried over to 2014 and 2015 with “Ignite” and “Inspire”.

Bishop Hoshibata’s emphasis throughout the Conference was on how the Desert Southwest Conference can begin a New Initiative for Growth and Vitality. The goal is to infuse the Conference with new approaches and visioning that will continue to keep our Conference engaged in the mission of the Church. Bishop “Bob” pointed out that growth is not just about numbers but also about whether people in the pews are growing spiritually. Listening, visioning and risking what God asks us to do are all measures of vitality.

The Bishop shared we all need to find creative ways to address the usual issues that prevent local churches from growth and vitality. Churches need to develop and maintain an outward focus by learning, sharing and partnering with other churches and Conference leadership to develop leaders and initiate change when needed.

This year’s Conference was also called to nominate a candidate for bishop (to be selected from a slate of candidates from other annual conferences at the Western Jurisdictional Conference held in Scottsdale, AZ in July). Our very own District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Dottie Escobedo-Frank, was elected to represent our Conference as our nominee. Dottie represented the Desert Southwest Conference with grace and exceptional leadership as she participated in the balloting process that eventually elected Rev. Karen Oliveto.

Saturday morning’s plenary session was a “Day of Learning” with Jim Griffith who will also be leading a workshop in the South District on Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17th at St. Paul’s UMC, Tucson entitled “How to Reach New People”. Many great ideas were shared and encouraged.

This year’s Conference Mission Project, to help youth who have “aged out” of the foster care system, collected over $63,000 worth of gift cards to be distributed throughout the Conference to various local agencies. Also celebrated, was the 60th anniversary of the ordination of women in the United Methodist Church and various ministries which were highlighted at this year’s Ministry Fair.

You can learn more about his year’s Annual Conference at the Desert Southwest Conference website: Click Here

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