My First Impressions @ #wjumc | By Jesse N. Love
Follow @channels_pnwumc on twitter.com, hashtag: #wjumc
San Diego is beautiful. Palm trees are everywhere. Warm sunshine blankets us. It is a wonderful opportunity to serve as a communicator and observer for the Western Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church.
The WJC takes place every four years. This year we are at the Town and Country Resort and Hotel in San Diego, Calif. Watching and listening to the different ideas and opinions about the status of the greater church is really interesting. The need for relevant clergy, the concern for budget cuts to ministries – including ethnic ministries, and the anticipation in waiting to hear who their Conference’s bishop will be are conversations that speckle the WJC.
As a communicator, I am honored to serve with a small group of storytellers. Many of us have years of experience in sharing ideas and in carefully, prayerfully, professionally preparing the messages you are receiving in Conference outlets. Serving in this capacity gives me the opportunity to reach out to Methodists from our Jurisdiction – in getting a sense of their own distinctiveness, while sharing some of the same concerns we all have for our Church.
Laddie Perez-Galang who serves as lay delegate and the Chair for Conference Missions in the California-Nevada Conference shares what she is looking forward to at this year’s WJC: “The new structure, the new boundaries that are happening, the spirit of inclusiveness and moving forward and also helping the ethnic churches and ethnic communities are what I am looking forward to.”
The Rev. Marianne Niesen who serves as a clergy delegate for the Yellowstone Conference shares what defines us as a Jurisdiction still working to contribute to the greater church: “We have a diversity of cultures, we have a diversity of socioeconomic representation, we have a huge geography in where we try to build community in a way that is particularly challenging. But I think what really calls forth from us is a willingness against our own self-interest as individuals, to look at the greater good. I just came back from the Nominating Committee. We have fewer people on committees on boards and agencies. So, if we are going to be who we say and are, what we have to look at is what can we give to the general church that will be the best… and that costs something for all of us.”
While observing at WJC, we are welcoming each other’s energy, ideas and enthusiasm. I am looking forward to having more conversations about our “church in the west”, seeing changes within the WJC which may affect the Pacific Northwest Conference, and discovering the edge of San Diego during the “Border Experience”.