Since 1744 the people called Methodists have come together at different times for events called conferences. Whether quarterly, annually, or every four years the Methodist movement has used conferences to unify the various local leaders and preachers around what and how to conduct its mission and ministry. Throughout its history the Methodist movement has encountered times when conferencing becomes impossible due to crisis, such as during the Revolutionary War and the 1918 Influenza. This year is turning out to be a time of global crisis as COVID-19 sweeps around the world. Communities are making difficult decisions in order to protect people and conserve and direct resources toward saving lives.
Just as churches are suspending in person worship, General Conference 2020 and the subsequent Jurisdictional Conferences of 2020 have been postponed. The expectation is that these conferences will be held in 2021. Read about the decision to postpone General Conference here. There are many unanswered questions about what this means and how it will impact the governance of the church. In the coming weeks we will update you as we have new dates. No decision has been made regarding the Desert Southwest Conference’s Annual Conference. What we do know is that this demonstrates that the leaders of The UMC are placing mission and ministry first. We are redirecting all of our energy to reaching out, comforting, witnessing, and equipping our congregations to care for our communities.