Our Wisconsin Annual Conference session is over; but have you shared the highlights with your church? Here is a summary of the three days. You can also continue to access the live streams from Annual Conference 2018 on our YouTube channel. Photos can be found on our Flickr page. A video of the highlights will be made available soon. At the Wisconsin Annual Conference, we celebrated the theme “One With Each Other” from June 15-18 at the Madison Marriott West. 

Here are the highlights:

Learning from Inspirational Guest Speakers

Guest speakers included Bishop Modesto Mamani of the Evangelical Methodist Church in Bolivia; Bishop Eduard Khegay of the United Methodist Eurasia Episcopal Area; retired Bishop Linda Lee; retired Bishop Donald Ott; Thomas Kemper, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries; and the Rev. Howard Hintzman.

Mamani delivered an inspirational sermon during opening worship. He reminded us of Genesis 32:30 when Jacob said, “I saw God face to face, and my soul was saved.” He urged, “We need to get those encounters back: see the eyes of God face to face.” He continued, “God always wants to be with you. Jesus wants to be with you so you can be with the other… Jesus Christ promotes encounters of sincerity, encounters of humility, encounters face-to-face. These are only possible in his name.” Click here to read the full recap of opening worship.

Hintzman, who is retiring after serving in the Wisconsin Conference for over 40 years, preached during the Retiree Recognition and Worship Service. His sermon was on the importance of simply showing up. “Just like when Jesus told the mustard seed to just show up,” Hintzman said, “Jesus didn’t tell the seeds that they must be a certain size or have certain characteristics. All they had to do was show up. It’s about being present. Showing up is simply about letting God work through us and with us. I have also learned how to show up better through the people who have showed up in my life.” Click here to read the full recap of the retiree service.  

Thomas Kemper led a two-part Bible Study on Luke 10:1-11, when Jesus sends out 72 disciples in pairs. He discussed how this passage relates to missionary work today. He said, “The first lesson we can learn is we are sent in pairs – we are one with each other. Jesus did not send his disciples alone, but he sent them in pairs. So mission is not something we can do alone. But this whole concept of partnership in mission is key.” View Part 1 of his Bible Study here and view Part 2 here.

Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination

At the service of Licensing, Commissioning, and Ordination, 13 individuals were licensed as local pastors, four were commissioned for the work of an elder, two commissioned for the work of a deacon, three were ordained elders, and two individuals ordained in the Korean Methodist Church were recognized as elders in full connection in The United Methodist Church. After the Gospel reading of Mark 8:34-38, Khegay gave his sermon on the way of Christ. “Jesus says the way of Christ is full of rejection. It is a way of suffering and death,” Khegay said. He discussed what the way of Christ means in our modern life, “Today we live in a different era. At least in my country and in your country, I don’t see anybody killed or crucified because of faith. But try something like reforming your church, or try something to transform your community, and you may learn what the suffering and hostility is. I’m sure many of you have experienced that already in your ministry and your life.” Read more.

Read Full Report submitted to United Methodist Communications.