Bishop’s Leadership Convocation with Laity was held on March 23 and 24 at Reedsburg UMC, with 85 people attending. The event began Friday evening with a banquet to celebrate Laity Leadership, followed by a panel discussion on the Hispanic Pentecost Emergence Initiative in Wisconsin.

Panel members included Rev. Forrest Wells, North Central Superintendent; Rev. Jorge Luis Mayorga, Director of Congregational Development; Rev. Randy Booth, Pastor of Monroe UMC; Rev. Juan F. Mayorga, planting Hispanic Ministry in Monroe; and Antonia Gutierrez, a Lay Missioner planting Hispanic Ministry in Sparta. During the discussion, Forrest Wells spoke about how planting new ministries used to be in the DNA of clergy and churches. “Now there is a new emergence through our Hispanic members and we need to embrace that excitement,” he said.

Saturday morning began with opening worship. Bishop Jung then led a Bible Study entitled “May We Live Out the Unity as God’s People?” He spoke about the importance of unity, “We need unity in mission, one family, one faith. For 50 years, UMC has been debating who is in and who is not. The LGBTQ discussion is a critical juncture for this inclusion matter…which will be decided at the 2019 General Conference.” He said “It’s OK to disagree and be different. The resolution will come from God. No matter what the structure ends up being, we are one with God. To be fully the body of Christ, we are together no matter what.”

Bishop Jung also spoke about how he had taken his Lenten theme from Discipleship Ministries: Love Leads the Way. He said, “We should bear one another’s burdens…like the youth are doing in the Youth March for Life. They are saying ‘It’s enough.’ We need to embrace others to be one in communion. It takes a deep sense of relationship to be United Methodist.” Bishop Jung then led an exercise called “I Have a Dream” where participants discussed their dream for the United Methodist Church. If you would like to read the full Bible Study, you can download the "May We Live Out the Unity as God's People?" Bible Study here and the "I Have a Dream" exercise here.

Steve Scott, a member of the Launch Out! Team, spoke after lunch. Launch Out! is the proposed Conference-wide effort to invest in the future of the Wisconsin Conference. The Launch Out! Funding Campaign has three main priorities: revitalization of existing congregations that desire life and growth, new faith communities to reach those who don’t currently relate to our existing congregations and ministries, and mercy and justice ministries as collaborative opportunities in every community. For each of those priorities, focus will be on leadership development for laity and clergy because that is the key to effective mission and ministry. Watch his presentation here.

Next, participants could choose one of four workshops to attend. The workshops offered were Peace Living as a Core Congregational Value led by Rev Dan. Dick, Assistant to the Bishop; How Do We Birth/Partner New Ministries in Our Existing Churches led by Rev. Jorge Luis Mayorga, Director of Congregational Development; Why Spiritual Formation in the Church led by Barbara A. Dick; and Launch Out! Fundraising Campaign led by Steve Scott. The event ended with closing worship.

View pictures on Flickr.