Every four years, the General Conference of The UMC gathers. Delegates from all over the world will assemble in Portland, Oregon, to consider a wide range of matters. We are growing into becoming a more truly world-wide church, and as with all growth, this brings change. We are looking towards a new global or general Book of Discipline. We are examining how best to organize and govern a world-wide body. We are considering financial implications and missional opportunities. We will vote on legislation related to a variety of social issues that look very different in various global contexts.
This will be my 8th General Conference. I was first elected to the 1988 General Conference in St. Louis. That was the year the GC voted to establish Africa University, which now celebrates its 25th Anniversary and more than 5,000 graduates, more than half of whom are women. We have changed the future of the church on the African continent.
I have seen many changes, high points and low points. We do not always rise to our potential, but sometimes we surpass our dreams. I believe that the Holy Spirit is in it all, yearning to empower us to witness to the liberating, life-giving power of God. Please hold us in your prayers and continue to dream big–for the sake of the renewal of the church and the transformation of the world.