Thursday, June 28, 2007

Annual Meeting - September 7, 8 & 9 - Lake Junaluska

Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women.....

Annual Meeting - September 7, 8 & 9 - Lake Junaluska

Theme: Through the Eyes of a Child

Are you making your plans to attend Annual Meeting? Your conference Program Committee, and our hostess North Wilkesboro District, are busy with plans for an exciting Annual Meeting. Read all about it on our conference web site and in the upcoming issue of the Conference Gram. Annual Meeting information is available on our web site at: (Just follow the link for Annual Meeting)

Just a may begin sending in your Lake Junaluska housing reservation forms for Annual Meeting on July 2nd. If you would like to stay in one of the Lake Junaluska hotels or facilities, and you need a copy of the housing reservation form, you can download it from our web site at: (Just follow the link for Registration Forms or Annual Meeting). A PDF version of the housing reservation form is also attached to this email.

There is no advance registration required for attending Annual Meeting. Advance reservations are only necessary for housing in one of the Lake Junaluska hotels or facilities.

NEW in 2007: There will be a registration fee collected from all persons attending Annual Meeting. Fees are as follows and will be collected at the time of on-site registration.

  • $5.00 for those staying in Conference owned facilities: Terrace Inn, Lambuth Inn, Lakeside Lodge, Sunnyside Lodge, Junaluska Apartments and for those renting or staying in a private home on the grounds.

  • $10.00 for those staying in Providence Lodge, Sunset Inn and off the grounds of Lake Junaluska

Mark your calendar, and make plans to be at Lake Junaluska for Annual Meeting!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Online Resources for 2007 Mission Studies

Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women.....

Have you checked out the online resources for the 2007 Mission Studies? The Women's Division and General Board of Global Ministries websites have special web pages for each of the three studies this year. Links to each of the special pages are shown below. There are also links to these special pages from our conference website at: ...from the front page and the School of Christian Mission page. Use these excellent resources as you read the mission studies, and as you share and participate in them with your local unit....enjoy!

Spiritual Growth Study - Music and Mission:

Brand new on the Women's Division website yesterday...the website for the Music and Mission spiritual growth study! One WONDERFUL feature is that you may listen to music from the CD of selected hymns that is available as a supplemental resource with the study....even choose which you browse the pages! And, there are downloadable, printable versions of all of the website text, and links to other resources. Check it out!

Link to Music and Mission website:

Geographic Study - Israel / Palestine:

This website includes downloadable resources, links to other resources, a photo gallery, a time line, and more! Check it out!

Link to Israel / Palestine website:

General Issue Study - Globalization:

This website includes downloadable resources, links to other resources, maps & charts, updated supplemental resources related to the textbook, and more! There are also links to the Youth mission study on Globalization....The Big G. Check it out!

Link to Globalization website:

Summertime = Reading: New Mission Studies

Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women.....

Have you planned your summer reading? Below is an article from the General Board of Global Ministries about the "HOT" summer reading for United Methodists...Mission Studies!

One of the Youth resources is now available for free download on our website....the 2007 Youth Spiritual Growth Study Guide - "Singing God's Mission", by J. Ann Craig. Just visit our website at will find links to download the Youth study guide on both the School of Christian Mission page and our Downloads Available page.

All of the mission study books will be available for purchase in our program resources room at the School of Christian Mission. Great way to get shipping!

Be a part of a GREAT and MEANINGFUL book club...put mission studies on your summer reading list!

And...don't forget....mail your registration for our School of Christian Mission today! (Registration form is available on our website....registration deadline is June 23rd.)

Summertime = Reading: New Mission Studies
by Mary Beth Coudal

Summertime equals reading. This year, tens of thousands of United Methodists and friends will crack open one of several books known as mission studies, as if they are all in one big, meaningful book club.

The hot books are: God's Mission, God's Song by Joyce Sohl, Israel and Palestine by Stephen Goldstein, and Globalization by elmira Nazombe.

Under the guidance of leaders who have studied the books and their subjects at regional schools of Christian mission in June, readers will discuss the books, their meanings, and action ideas throughout weeks or weekends in July-October, in family camps or conference schools of Christian mission.

As in previous years, mission studies fall into three categories:

general theme - Globalization and Its Impact on People's Lives
spiritual growth theme - God's Mission, God's Song and
geographic theme - Israel and Palestine.

Israel and Palestine

Written by the Rev. Stephen Goldstein, Israel and Palestine offers a personal, historical, and reflective analysis on a region ripped from today's headlines. This book can serve as a tool to navigate the many roads and obstacles to a lasting peace. Israel and Palestine is a must-read for all who want to learn about the people and context of this important, dynamic, and tumultuous region.

With an extensive study guide written by the Rev. Sandra Olewine, groups are encouraged to engage in dialogue prayerfully and actively.


Globalization and its Impact on People's Lives focuses largely on economic justice. Written by elmira Nazombe, racial justice executive for the Women's Division, the book explores timely topics like immigration, free trade, outsourcing, and privatization of water. New supplemental resources for 2007 have been added to this study's website.

The youth study on globalization, The Big G by Tamara Walker, former executive for youth and young adults at Global Ministries, invites teens to examine and discuss the ways in which two big Gs—globalization and the gospel—speak directly to kids and their choices.

God's Mission, God's Song

Joyce Sohl, former deputy general secretary of the Women's Division, wrote this study, a substantive look at early missionary hymns, the holiness movement, missionaries' use of music, and contemporary justice music. As a member of the Global Praise working group, a group that has produced several global music hymn books and audio recordings, Ms. Sohl emphasized music's power as "imaginative, bold, faithful, and full of God's love."

Within this spiral-bound book, you can find 77 hymns, many of them popular, such as the first hymn, "I'm gonna live so God can use me." Ms. Sohl wrote a study guide that completes this unique mission study.

J. Ann Craig wrote a readable and downloadable youth study, Singing God's Mission, packed with prayers, songs, historical facts, and creative exercises. The study gets kids talking on the power and spirit found in music.

Mission Possible!

Last year, the Global Ministries mission studies team offered a curriculum for teaching six- to twelve-year-olds about mission all over the world. The study, Mission Possible! A Teacher's Guide for Children, was compiled by Martha Bettis Gee. Mexico, Interfaith Communities, Cuba, and Children of Biblical Lands are previous mission studies made new in this resource that spans 39 weeks. "They (Christian educators) have been waiting for this," said project manager for mission studies, the Rev. Toby Gould.

Mission Possible, Israel and Palestine, and Globalization were produced by the communications office. The spiritual growth study, God's Mission, God's Song, was produced in partnership with the Women's Division.

To order any of these resources, call the Mission Resource Center, 1-800-305-9857Or order online at

Globalization #3724 $7.50
God's Mission, God's Song #M3001 $10.95
Israel and Palestine #M3006 $8.50
Mission Possible #3727 $10.00

To learn more about the mission studies, including past years' themes, visit:

New page on our website...Social Action!

Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women.....

A new page has been added to our web site....Social Action! Check it out...and share information with your local unit!

"John Wesley often preached about works of piety and mercy as inseparable. Charity is a gift, but social action helps change systems that keep people oppressed and dispossessed. As United Methodist Women, we believe that these are inseparable." Women's Division

The following are some of the resources that are available...all in one place...on our new Social Action page:
  • 2007 Conference Priorities for Social Action, and links to related resource web sites
  • United Methodist Women Action Network...subscribe today!
  • Links to social action related articles on the Women's Division web site
  • Links to social action communities on the United Methodist Women Online Community
  • Links to the various social action emphasis pages on the Women's Division web site
  • United Methodist Church resources and links
  • Links to Western NC Conference information from the conference committee on Church and Society
  • Find out who your representatives are in the United States Congress and the North Carolina General Assembly
  • Links to various other informational sites about federal, state and local governments
  • And, links to related Mission Today criteria on the Mission Today page of our web site

To visit our Social Action page....just go to our website at ...and click on the menu link on the left for Social Action.

Use the resources there to help your local unit live out part of our PURPOSE....which calls us to "experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ."

YOU can get Social Action!

School of Christian Mission - Register Today!

Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women.....

School of Christian Mission
July 12-15, 2007
Greensboro College

Reminder...The deadline for registration for the School of Christian Mission is June 23, 2007. Send in your School of Christian Mission registration form today! Complete information and a downloadable registration form and brochure are available on our website at: ...then just click on the link for the School of Christian Mission.

We have three wonderful mission studies this year:

Spiritual Growth Study: Music and Mission
Geographic Study: Israel / Palestine
General Issue Study: Globalization: Its Impact in Our Lives

The School Committee and our team of study leaders have been busy making plans for another great school. The School of Christian Mission is a special opportunity to participate in Bible study and studies about other countries and issues, fellowship with United Methodist Women from across our conference, and learn more about the total program of mission that is United Methodist Women. In a United Methodist News Service commentary last minister described Schools of Christian Mission as some of best lay faith education being offered anywhere in the church. Join us! It can be a life changing experience.

There are several ways you can participate...we have opportunities to accommodate any schedule:

1. Participate as a full time resident student....experience the entire school, and live on campus at Greensboro College. The cost for full time resident students is $125.00. Housing and meals are included in the registration fee.

2. Participate as a full time non-resident day student...experience the entire school, but commute daily to the campus. The cost for full time non-resident day students is $35.00. No meals are included in the registration fee.

3. Participate in one of the One-Day Overview sessions...on either Friday (July 13th) or Saturday (July 14th). One-Day Overview students can participate in the events of the day they attend, including the Spiritual Growth Study session, and they attend special overview classes on both Israel / Palestine and Music & Mission. The cost for one-day overview students is $15.00.

4. NEW in 2007! Youth Mission Day for Teen Women...on Saturday, July 14th. Teen women are invited to join us for a day of activities, study, learning opportunities, and FUN, as we look at the issue of Globalization, and its impact on people's lives. The cost for youth day students is $15.00. Teen women who are registered for the entire school may participate in the Youth Mission Day on Saturday at no extra charge. The special registration form for Youth Mission Day is available on our website.

Complete information about the School of Christian Mission is available on our website at: ...then click on the link for the School of Christian Mission.

We look forward to welcoming you at the School of Christian Mission. Register today!

Our Hands-On Mission Opportunity for the 2007 School of Christian Mission will be:

School Kits for Bethlehem Centers in Charlotte & Winston-Salem

Look for more information on our website at ...on the School of Christian Mission page. Thanks for your participation in this Hands on Mission Opportunity!

Each kit will make a difference in the life of a child or youth at our Bethlehem Centers!

YOU make Mission Happen!!!!

Olson Nominated to Lead Women's Division

Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women.....

Below is a United Methodist News Service article posted today on ... Harriett Jane Olson has been nominated as the chief executive of the Women's Division.

Olson nominated to lead Women’s Division
By Linda Bloom*June 18, 2007 NEW YORK (UMNS)

Harriett Jane OlsonHarriett Jane Olson, an executive with the United Methodist Publishing House, has been nominated as chief executive of the Women's Division, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

If elected, Olson would join the division in the fall, succeeding Jan Love, who left the post at the end of 2006 to become dean of the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.

The Women's Division is the administrative arm and policy-making body of United Methodist Women, a denominational organization of approximately 1 million members whose purpose is to foster spiritual growth, develop leaders and advocate for justice.

"Ms. Olson is a woman of many gifts and will serve the division with distinction," said Kyung Za Yim in a June 13 letter to Women's Division directors. Yim is division president and chairperson of its search committee.

Yim said Olson is "the closest match for our unique needs at this time in our history" and noted that she was one of eight candidates initially interviewed and among the three finalists. With the approval of directors, the committee had started a second search process for the position last year to expand the field of candidates.

Division directors will vote on the search committee's recommendation in August and share that information with the personnel committee of the Board of Global Ministries. The full board is scheduled to vote on the matter during its annual meeting in October.

Lois Dauway, who leads the division's Section on Christian Social Responsibility, has served as interim chief executive since Jan. 1.

Olson said she is "thrilled" to be the Women's Division nominee and looks forward "to what the division directors, the staff and I can do, together with the members of United Methodist Women, to work toward the spiritual and physical wholeness that was God's desire for the creation from the foundation of the world."

Since 1996, Olson has been senior vice president for publishing, editor for church school publications and UMC book editor at the United Methodist Publishing House in Nashville, Tenn. She supervises a staff of 125 to 150 people responsible for the development, production and trade distribution of resources from Abingdon Press, Cokesbury and Kingwood Books.
Before joining the Publishing House, she worked for the Pitney, Hardin, Kipp and Szuch law firm of Morristown, N.J., from 1983-96, where she was a partner in the real estate department, with a specialization in environmental law, from 1991-96.

From 1988-96, Olson was a director of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and was a delegate to the 1988, 1992 and 1996 General Conferences of the denomination. She also served on a number of committees with what was then the Northern New Jersey Annual Conference.

She is a member of Morristown (N.J.) United Methodist Church and an affiliate member of McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville.

Olson is a 1983 graduate of Harvard Law School and has a bachelor's degree from Houghton (N.Y.) College, where she serves on the board of trustees. She is a board member of the Protestant Church Owned Publishers Association and Bible Translation and Utilization Committee of the National Council of Churches.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

Fathers' Days in United Methodist Community Centers

Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women.....

In celebration of Father's Day...the following article was just posted to the General Board of Global Ministries website. It shares examples of how the over 100 national mission institutions offer programs to help fathers become better parents for their children.

United Methodist Women provide support and funding for national mission institutions through our Mission Giving. Every day, our national mission institutions share the love of Christ as they reach out to families in need.

Fathers’ Days in United Methodist Community Centers

Being a father is not easy. That’s why many of the more than 100 mission and community centers related to the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church offer programs to help fathers become better parents.

The following stories come from individuals who are a part of the caring connection of staff and participants who work in mission institutions around the United States with families, including fathers.

From Atlantic Street Center in Seattle, Washington By Sidney Carter

I first learned of Atlantic Street Center in 1998 when I became involved in a custody dispute concerning my daughter LaToya, who was then seven years old. I was living in Holly Park (now known as NewHolly) and having great difficulty navigating the state systems. I was very angry and frustrated and I needed someone to talk to, but I didn’t know where to turn.
I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t run into Sue Siegenthaler, manager of Atlantic Street Center’s Family Center. Sue and the rest of the staff at Atlantic Street Center stepped in and gave me the support I needed at a critical time in my life.

I enrolled in parenting classes and joined a fathers’ support group. The Atlantic Street Center staff took the time to help me find my way through the system, and gave me hope that everything would work out for the best.

But most importantly, my involvement with Atlantic Street Center opened up broader opportunities for my daughter. LaToya enrolled in counseling and became involved with the Youth Development Program. She went on field trips and educational outings, and when she was a little older she joined the youth leadership group—Team ALIVE.

Atlantic Street Center gave us a community, and gave me, a single father, the help and encouragement I needed to raise my daughter in an environment that is not always supportive of fathers raising their children alone.

I am happy to report that I was awarded full custody of my daughter. Today, LaToya is in high school and is an honor student and all-around athlete.

But perhaps what is most remarkable is that, all these years later, LaToya and I are still closely involved with Atlantic Street Center. We stay connected to the staff, and we volunteer our time however and whenever we can.

From Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House in East St. Louis, Illinois
By Kelvin McNeil

A client in our program, who will be identified as Robert F. to maintain his confidentiality, came to the P.A.S.S. (Providing a Sure Start) Male Involvement Program in February 2007.
Robert F. lost custody of his two-year-old daughter, Angel, due to circumstances beyond his control. In essence, the child’s mother abandoned the child during their separation. The child was turned over the local state agency.

Unfortunately, the system, for the most part, is not male-friendly or, should we say, designed with the male/father in mind in most cases. There is a preconceived idea by society as a whole that because of a few dead-beat dads, most fathers don’t take responsibility for their children, especially in blighted communities like East St. Louis.

The various agencies and courts involved with this particular case gave Robert F. an extensive service plan. This would not be so unique in itself, except for the fact that the client had just entered into an internship program with a potentially rewarding career. The schedule for training and job preparation, the long-distance travel from home and the job site and schooling would be challenging for anyone. Add to that, the various court dates and setbacks, and the loss of regular visits with his child. All this could have discouraged him and caused him to give up. But he didn’t, he wouldn’t. Robert F.’s love for his daughter would not allow him to surrender to the challenges.

Robert F. met every obligation, often with personal sacrifices in spite of many disappointments. We encouraged him to stay focused and follow through with his obligations. One of his greatest challenges was traveling at night in unsafe areas to receive some of the services required in the service plan he was mandated to complete.He persevered and followed through. His visitation rights were restored and he is expecting to have full custody restored to him.

A story such as this is rewarding, uplifting, encouraging, and fulfilling. The Male Involvement Program is designed to assist the male parents or significant male figures with the resources and training that help to make them responsible, and to better equip them for their roles in their children’s lives.

Periodically, we are rewarded for our efforts to make a difference in someone’s life. Circumstances, events, or a crisis provide us with many opportunities to witness to the hope God desires for young fathers. We are rewarded, not by monetary means, but by the joy and satisfaction of helping fathers in their time of need and by witnessing as they move toward a goal or desired event. Such was the case with Robert F.

Kelvin McNeil is employed with the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House with P.A.S.S. as a Male Involvement Specialist. With the Rev. Bradley Watkins, II, they coordinate and provide services geared specifically to the males who have a children under the age of three.

From Red Bird Mission School in Beverly, Kentucky By Stacia Carwell

March 31st was Family Fun Day at Red Bird Mission School. We showed a parenting DVD and distributed free booster seats. There was a short pinewood derby race for fathers and children to race little cars. Every participant received a prize and each father received a flier with suggestions on spending time with your children. We tried to go over the different suggestions listed on the flier to see what the father might try to do at home.

During the day there were many events in which fathers were able to participate with their children. Fathers encouraged their children in the Fun Run. Every child that participated received a T-shirt. Fathers and children worked together to catch a greased pig. And all were invited to join in the hayride, where a father actually played the banjo while the tractor pulled them around the field. As a result of the Family Fun Day and the Easter Egg Hunt on April 4th, our families were able to network together and make new friends. Those families with preschool-aged children were able to find out information about the Early Childhood Development Program. They learned how and when to enroll their children for preschool.

Fathers were able to gain new ideas about how they can spend time with their children. We have had to work very hard to get fathers to participate in events. The men that attended spent time together as well as with their children.

Stacia Carwell is a Global Ministries Missionary, serving with Red Bird Mission in the Red Bird Conference.

From Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky

Our first get-together for Early Steps for School Success, where parents are compelled to attend, went well. But I noticed that two of our dads had brought their girlfriends, who waited for the men in their cars.

The next month as we were getting ready to start, I looked out, and again, the women were sitting in their cars. So I walked out and invited them to attend the workshop. They looked at me and asked whether I was sure that they could come in. I said I would be glad to have them and that we would even feed them.

I’ve since learned that both of these dads’ girlfriends have a child that does not belong to these fathers but that the fathers, accept each of these children as their own. The girlfriends each have a child by these dads also.

The economic conditions of these families are very poor. But they stay together through these conditions with love, care, and support for their families. At our next workshop, the parents and girlfriends attended. We offered the CPR class and both fathers asked insightful questions that would help them if their children needed them. Their interest was with their children. They both said that they were looking forward to coming back again. I told them that we appreciate them being part of the new program that we are doing now.

Both families are on our MIHOW program (Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker) and as I home visit I can see a great love and deep bond that these fathers have with their children and stepchildren. Both families welcome me in their home and I always tell them that through the Henderson Settlement Ministry, we will lend a helping hand to them when they need us.

Many fathers make a positive difference in their communities. And many community centers make a positive difference in the lives of fathers and families.

2007 Spiritual Growth Retreats

Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women.....

One more reminder about the 2007 Spiritual Growth Retreats which are THIS WEEK! It is not too late to make plans to attend!

NEW! The program book for this year's retreats is now available on our website. Check it out!

2007 Spiritual Growth Retreats

June 15-16 and 16-17

Lake Junaluska

Theme: Faith, Fears, and Dandelions
Retreat Leader: M. Garlinda Burton

Have you made your plans to attend the 2007 Spiritual Growth Retreats? It is not too late!! There is no advance registration required for attending the retreats. You just need to arrange your own accommodations...and come!

Have you been planning to attend the retreats and wanted to stay on the Lake Junaluska grounds but thought there would be no rooms available? We have been informed by the retreat center that while there are very few rooms available for the Friday/Saturday retreat, there are four apartments still available. For the second retreat, there are quite a few rooms available, especially at the beautiful Lambuth Inn. If you need specific information, you may request reservation information by calling 1-800-222-4930. There also are cancellations so it doesn't hurt to check daily for availability.

We encourage you if at all possible to stay on the grounds to help support the facilities at Lake Junaluska. If the Lake facilities are full, there are lots of motels near the Assembly grounds...Visit the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce or the Maggie Valley Area Visitors Bureau for more information on available accommodations.

If you are coming to the retreats, a reminder that registration will be in the Harrell Center Auditorium, which is downstairs where Program Resources is located. We ask that you try to pay the registration fee ($5.00 if you are staying in retreat owned facilities or $10.00 if you are commuting or staying off the retreat grounds) with cash if at all possible. This helps to keep our bank processing fees low.

We hope to see you at the retreats. We also hope you are sharing information with others, especially those who do not have e-mail. If you have any questions, please contact Kris Peurifoy:

Read more about the plans for the Spiritual Growth Retreats on our website at:

Call to Prayer for 2008 General Conference

Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women.....

The Western North Carolina Annual Conference concluded Sunday at Lake Junaluska....after four days of worship and inspiration, celebration of conference ministries, fellowship, debate and discussion, and lots of voting to elect our conference delegations to the 2008 General Conference and the 2008 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.

For complete information about Annual Conference, including PDF copies of the daily newspaper...The Digest, visit the conference website at:

Below is an recent article about a call to prayer for the upcoming 2008 General Conference, which will take place next spring in Fort Worth, Texas. Begin to pray daily for the General Conference, our own Western North Carolina delegations, and other delegates that are being elected across the country and around the world.

The persons elected to represent Western North Carolina at the General and Jurisdictional conferences are as follows:

Laity Delegates - General Conference: Betty Jo Hardy, John Howard, Jack Young, Jim Windham, Sarah McKinney, Amy Johnson, Teila Hand, Kim Daniels, Sandy Hieronymus, Sarah Kim, John Ammons, William Greene, Joetta Rinehart

Clergy Delegates - General Conference: Thomas (Andy) Langford III, Sally O. Langford, Arnetta E. Beverly, Angela A. Pleasants, Kenneth H. Carter, Jr., Kimberly T. Ingram, Charles Denny White, Jr., James C. Howell, Julianne (Jan) Brittain, Nancy Burgin Rankin, Ashley Crowder Stanley, Resonald (Alan) Rice, Jr., Patricia A. Lewis

Note: All General Conference delegates are also delegates to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.

Laity Delegates - Jurisdictional Conference: Lynne Gilbert, Jennifer Davis, Jennifer Burton, Tonya Lanier, Philip Wingeier-Rayo, Mildred Carter, Lazelle Free, Etta Marcellus, Ann Aldridge, Sara Williams, Bob Shepherd, Daphine Strickland, Kathy FitzJeffries

Clergy Delegates - Jurisdictional Conference: Abraham Kim, Frank (Duke) Ison, William C. Wyman, Jr., Mark J. Key, Elizabeth O. Coppedge-Henley, Shelly F. Webb, Percival (Percy) Reeves, George Thompson, Andy Lambert, M. Kenneth Lyon, Charles Kyker, Earl Wilson, Jr., David Christy

Laity Alternates: Neffie Connie Locklear, Katie Fralic, Michael Carle, Tom Wilson, Dick Strachan, Charlie Taylor, Charles Eurey, Stephen Noblitt

Clergy Alternates: L. Gregory Jones, Lillie M. Jones, Joseph Seymour, Lowell McNaney, Katherine Clontz Sherrill, Talbot Davis, H. Donnell FitzJeffries, Amy Coles

General Conference Host Committee Issues Call to Prayer

United Methodists around the world are asked to pray for God's guidance for the church in the time leading up to and during the denomination's 2008 legislative assembly.
The Central Texas Annual (regional) Conference host committee, which is preparing for the assembly next spring in Fort Worth, has issued a "A Call to Prayer for General Conference 2008."

"Just as prayer is as essential to the Christian life as breath, so prayer is essential to our shared life together as we prepare for General Conference 2008," the committee said in its call.

"We on the General Conference Hosting Committee Prayer Ministries Team invite you to pray daily for General Conference 2008 and for all the preparations and deliberations leading up to it so that in all that we do we are 'rooted and grounded in love,'" the committee said.
Nearly 1,000 delegates from around the world will meet April 23-May 2 in Fort Worth to revise The United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions, approve a budget for general ministries, speak to issues of the day, worship and celebrate the church's work. General Conference meets every four years.

"We feel that the prayers of all United Methodists are crucial as we approach General Conference," said Judy Tutt, co-chairperson of the Prayer and Discernment Ministries Team. "If we are to discern God's will for our denomination, it is important for every member to be informed about and to pray about the issues that will come before the conference. That's why we are trying to disseminate the Call to Prayer to as many United Methodist publications and Web sites worldwide as we possibly can."

Tutt's co-chairperson, Len Delony, wrote the prayer contained within the committee's call to prayer statement.

"People might pray this particular prayer or they might be led to pray for General Conference in another way," Tutt said. "They might be led to Ephesians 3:14-21, or other portions of Scripture may speak to them more clearly. Our hope is that more and more United Methodists will lift up General Conference during all of their regular prayer time and Bible study in the coming months."

"We encourage everyone in their prayer time to be silently open and available to God," Delony said. "There are so many competing agendas in this fast-paced world of ours, we must be more intentional about taking a second breath and letting go of our agenda. Only when we do that are we able to hear the depth of God's call in the moment," he said.

The committee is planning several types of prayer spaces at General Conference, including "Second Breath" prayer tents near the convention floor, Delony said. The prayer spaces are designed to help the church experience General Conference as a time of "holy conferencing," he said.

"Prayer reminds us of our connectedness to God and to one another," Tutt said. "In the midst of conflicting viewpoints and different understandings of God's will and purpose for us, we all stand humbly before God as brothers and sister when we pray. If we let prayer shape all of our plans for General Conference, our time together to plan for The United Methodist Church will be shaped not merely by our human capabilities and perspectives, which are always limited, but also by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, which knows no limits."

The complete text of the call to prayer follows:


"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Just as prayer is as essential to the Christian life as breath, so prayer is essential to our shared life together as we prepare for General Conference 2008.

We on the General Conference Hosting Committee Prayer Ministries Team invite you to pray daily for General Conference 2008 and for all the preparations and deliberations leading up to it so that in all that we do we are "rooted and grounded in love."

We as a church need the cleansing, healing and guiding breath of prayer
as we tend to all of the details in preparation for General Conference 2008,
as we elect General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates,
as the delegates prepare, deliberate and discern,
and for every other large and small thing that goes into General Conference.
Please join us. We pray that our work before and during General Conference 2008 may itself be an act of prayer and that we will be attentive through it all to God's Presence in the Holy Spirit. We pray that through it all, we may follow the lead of the Good Shepherd, Jesus the Christ, and that we are able to let go as we offer and entrust all things to the Holy One.

O Holy One, Be Thou our Vision, For the church….

For all the United Methodist Conferences….

We pray for Your guidance and Your strength.
Be Thou our Vision for the world…

We pray for Your justice and Your peace.

Through Your amazing grace…

Help us to see what we need to see…

Help us to be who You call us to be…

O Holy One, let our breathing lead us into a place of ever deepening faith. Let us be awake to the Divine Indwelling where you promise, "I shall live in them and I shall walk the corridors of their heart."

Let this be a time of…

Holy Listening…Holy Conversations…and Holy Conferencing.