We are planning to gather across the EMC again … and we are excited!
Fellowship in the body is a precious thing, especially when circumstances make it less frequent and increasingly difficult. But vibrant connection IS essential. We’ve learned that face-to-face meetings may not always be possible, but when they are, we have learned that they are priceless. To that end, the USA Conference Superintendents are finalizing plans for our 2021 gatherings across the conference, and are ready to announce all those locations and schedules. Below, you will find links to documents detailing all five meetings that are planned for 2021.
The widespread travel restrictions of early 2020 were important as officials began to learn more about this virus. And just like local gatherings, health-focused restrictions made regional meetings of the EMC impossible. But they are a central fixture of our polity and practice for credential holders, pastors, church leaders, and lay persons to meet at least once a year for fellowship, accountability, encouragement, unity, and community. Our Discipline sets it forth this way:
“Sessions of the District Conference may be convened by the International General Superintendent when called upon to do so by a majority of the churches, the Cabinet of Superintendents, or the General Council. There shall be at least one Journey session in the districts in each non-General Conference year. The districts may have a joint Journey session.”
For those who may be new to us, beginning in 2011 we have warmly called these gatherings or sessions ‘Journey’ meetings. The name was chosen to distinguish them from a business-heavy meeting such as our quadrennial General Conference, but regardless of what they may be called, these District Sessions are vitally important to our connection as partners.
More than ever, it would be wonderful for pastors to encourage key lay-people from each church to come. Pastors, please make plans now to come, and to bring 2 or 3 or 4 lay people with you. And as a special opportunity, you may pay the registration fee for 5 lay people and bring a total of 8 for no additional cost!
In 2021, we will experiment with five separate locations so that the lion’s share of our churches will be within reasonable driving distance from one of the sessions. Each location will spend some time focusing on church planting. They will each have a segment specially designed for local church folk, as well as an executive session of the clergy for EMC credential holders. We are making efforts to secure special hotel rates but encourage you to make your own arrangements now.