Getting a Jump on Conference
Missouri Bishop Bob Farr opened the briefing by welcoming people to the “experiment” and reminding both those gathered and those online that Annual Conference was not in session. The pre-conference briefing was only to receive reports with no voting requirements.
“If anyone brings up business I’ll have to rule it out of order because we’re not in order,” Bishop Farr said. His opening was followed by reports from various groups that are usually given at Annual Conference Session.
The Missouri United Methodist Foundation
Missouri United Methodist Foundation Director David Atkins reported that the foundation has entered its 52nd year of ministry, opening the same year as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
“The Arch remains powerful symbol of achievement and possibilities. We’re in a season of change, but God’s love abides,” Atkins said. “Your United Methodist Foundation is a gateway to giving, generous living and a means to share in unknown abundant possibilities of God’s future.”
Atkins introduced Chris Bouchard as the director of the C2FM. This ministry directly serves pastors and their churches in four areas of service:
- Financial Education
- Personal Financial Coaching
- Financial Ministry Support
- Direct Aid
Next Generation Ministries
Right now there are about 3,700 children and youth registered for summer camps. The camp goal is 8,188.
“We are excited about where we are and where we are going,” Baker said.
NextGen Ministries in Missouri recognizes the important work of connecting with young adults to continue the relational work of the church. A few years ago, members of the NextGen Team identified Springfield as one of the areas with a growing number of students but no formal campus ministry. With Missouri State University being the second largest campus in Missouri, Baker was excited to share the appointment of Rev. Tracey Wolff as the college-age ministry pastor in Springfield. Wolff has a passion for working with college-age students. Also this year, five of
Missouri’s college-age ministries sent 60 students to support the repair efforts in Puerto Rico as part of an alternative spring break mission experience.
“Our commitment to helping those around the country and around the world is stronger than ever,” Baker said.
NextGen has recruited 24 interns serving as counselors and leadership staff with mobile camps this summer. This year the plan is to bring a weeklong camp experience to 900 campers all across Missouri. The curriculum is founded in Methodist theology and ideals and honoring the uniqueness of every camper in attendance. This work directly correlates with The Conference priority of developing missional leaders.
Central Methodist University
Rev. Kayla Kelly introduced herself as the campus chaplain and director of the Center of Faith and Service at Central Methodist University in Fayette. She has two responsibilities: campus ministries and service opportunities. There are 60 students in community engagement, providing service hours in the local community. There is a chapel service at 10 a.m. every Tuesday at CMU with an average attendance of 150. Four chapel praise bands lead worship on rotating basis and also play at local places like nursing homes. About 50 students are engaged in campus ministry leadership on Tuesday mornings alone. This past spring 22 people from CMU went to Puerto Rico.
A renovation project has begun in the basement of CMU chapel.
“Might we all be more mindful in noticing and nurturing those who are thinking about thinking about a call to ministry in any form,” Hayden said.
Mission, Service and Justice
“If you’re praying if your congregation should do this, you have all of the resources available on the Missouri Conference website to get started,” Harris said.