July 12, 2016

The Missouri Methodists came into being with the Annual Conference edition in July of 2013, so it’s always exciting when that time of year rolls around again, and it’s time to put together a full magazine out of a four-day event. 
This issue wouldn’t have happened without teamwork. Most of the stories in this magazine were written by the Daily Journal team. The Daily Journal is a daily publication at Annual Conference Session that reports on the previous day’s events. Rev. Susan Sneed of Metropolitan Congregations United in St. Louis and Rev. Pam Ekey of Sedgewickville/Patton are my two mainstay volunteer writers. Veteran writer Franci Schwartz of Central Grove-Warrenton was back this year, after not being at Annual Conference session for a few years. Rev. Linda Gastreich of Webster Hills UMC in St. Louis has also been pitching in now for the past few years.  
For the first time this year we were also assisted by Rev. Joan DeBoe, formerly of the Missouri Conference staff/New Bloomfield UMC and currently appointed to Missouri UMC in downtown Columbia. We also received help from Amanda Pelletier, the intern for The Mozambique Initiative.  
Stories have to be written quickly and composed into a document overnight, so the volunteer writers are often cutting into their precious lunch break, dinner break or sleeping time in order to get things written on time. The more writers we have, the easier it is on everyone. And despite the historical evidence to the contrary, being a Daily Journal volunteer is not restricted to ladies only. Experienced journalists are sought after, but there is no experience requirement. Anyone who likes to write and attends Annual Conference can give it a go. If you want to be part of the team let me know come next April. 
This year at the service of ordination Rev. Kim Parker from NextGen Ministries lent us her photographic talents to capture some of the sacred moments on the stage. And I also received support from Rev. Eric Mattson of New Madrid/Lilborn, not just for the back cover, but for other events throughout Conference. And if you read this magazine carefully, you’ll find Eric on other side of the lens for a change. He’s pictured in this issue not once, but twice. 
I hope you enjoy this issue. Reading it won’t be as much fun as being there, but it will give you a glimpse of what it’s like when all the United Methodist Churches in Missouri send their people to gather together for a few days.