from your pastor… “Phillip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’” John 1: 45-46, (NRSV)
COME AND SEE is the theme of our 2015 Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Each year since the beginning of the Methodist Church, clergy gathered with the founder Rev. John Wesley for Christian conferencing. In LA, we gather at Centenary College for our Annual Conference. Bishop Cynthia Harvey will preside. There must be an equal number of clergy and lay delegates to the Conference. Since Algiers and Belle Chasse share one pastor, there is one lay person who goes to represent both churches. This will be Sue Kitzman’s very first Annual Conference.
This year the schedule has changed. It begins on Sunday evening with the Episcopal address in a time of worship. Monday morning, the Laity will have a session, and the clergy will have a session. Then in the afternoon, we will join together for the beginning of the “business” session. We vote on the budget for all of the churches in the LA conference. Part of our annual conference budget comes from the global United Methodist Church which meets every four years at a General Conference. Each annual conference has apportionments set from the General Budget, then in each conference, that budget is divided up in a complicated formula among our local churches. Apportionments are “a portion meant for others.” It is our mission giving. We send in our Conference apportionments to Baton Rouge each month and our District apportionments to the New Orleans District office each month. At the end of May, we should have paid about 50%. However, this year at Algiers, we are not currently meeting our monthly expenses. If you can give extra to help catch us up, or increase your regular giving to the church, it is needed at this time. Please prayerfully consider what you can do to help.
On Monday night at Annual Conference, we will ordain new pastors and deacons. I am thrilled to participate in the laying on of hands for Sonya Lars who will be ordained. Tuesday night will be the Wesley Awards with bobble-head Wesley dolls awarded to churches with innovative ministries. Algiers UMC has been nominated for our Clean Jacket Day and prison ministry. We will be voting on some changes to our Conference organization and structure. Wednesday we will finish our “business” (ministry decisions) and the Bishop will fix the appointments. The Bishop assigns us to the local churches to pastor one year at a time. This will be the beginning of my seventh year at Algiers UMC, and I am so blessed to serve as your pastor here. Pray for us in Shreveport.