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Conference is coming (May 24, 2004)

Conference is coming (May 24, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Conference is coming

May 24, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0081}

NOTE:  A headshot of Whitaker is available at

An e-Review Commentary
By Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker**

Soon the clergy and lay members of the Florida Annual Conference will gather at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach June 3-6, 2004. As I look forward to the 2004 Florida Annual Conference, I think of the words that open the Daytona 500, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

All of us need to be prepared for the race to come at our Annual Conference in Daytona Beach. This will not be a conventional Annual Conference. The agenda will be different than in the past to enable us to have more interaction with one another before we vote on proposals. There will even be a time for us to witness to Christ to the people of the community. And the items on the agenda include proposals for significant change in the ways we order our life and ministry. They include proposals for a new district structure, a reform of the Conference Council on Ministries, and a new approach to our camp and retreat program.

Whatever we decide at the 2004 Annual Conference, we are aware that the most important work of the church occurs day by day in our communities and congregations by each of us. It is the wondrous work of the church being the Body of Christ in the world, worshipping the living God who is the source of abundant and eternal life, inviting those who have lost their place in God’s purposes for the world to become disciples of Jesus Christ, sharing one another’s joys and grief in the mysterious unity of the Spirit, and seeking to transform the world through service to those in need by our help and our advocacy on their behalf.

At the 2004 Annual Conference we intend to remember that the most important work of the church does not happen when we vote in session in The Center For the Performing Arts at Bethune-Cookman College, but in our whole lives together as the church dispersed throughout Florida from the Apalachicola River to Key West. In our worship and study we shall celebrate God’s purpose for the church to be “A Light To The Nations.”

May the Spirit of God illumine and guide us as we come together in Daytona Beach so that we may be the light of the world to the glory of God.

This commentary relates to the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Whitaker is bishop of the Florida Annual Conference.