Greater NJ Conference Embraces Miracles Everywhere (5/22/18)

Posted by on Jun 1, 2018 in Church Operations, EventReport, UMC Shared Ministries | 0 comments

The United Methodist Churches of “Greater” New Jersey are connected together; we share resources and best practices. We learn from each other. We make decisions that affect the whole body.

Once a year, the “Greater New Jersey” Conference of the worldwide United Methodist Church gathers in Wildwood NJ to vote on legislation, and to worship, study, and ordain new Deacons and Elders.

Each local church sends “delegates” to the conference; generally one clergy member (the pastor) and one Lay Member (the person who has been chosen by that church as their Lay Member to Annual Conference). The intent is to have an equal number of clergy and lay delegates present during the conference.

The conference is presided by the Conference’s bishop. In our case, that is Bishop John Schol. The 2018 conference met between Sunday May 20 and Tuesday May 22. The theme of this year’s conference was,”Miracles Everywhere!”

Chunks of this article came from a summary provided by the Conference. The pictures and additional information was provided by our lay member to annual conference.


  • Conference (capital C) refers to the Organization (“The Greater NJ Annual Conference”)
  • conference (lower case “c”) refers to the meeting of this organization (which occurs each year).

– Chuck



(provided by the Conference)

More than 1,400 people attended and six different languages were spoken and sung during the 2018 Greater New Jersey Annual Conference session, the largest attendance in GNJ history. We approved groundbreaking legislation to continue with a lawsuit against the State of New Jersey to desegregate public schools for 271,000 Black and Latino students and approved a budget that will reduce the shared ministry amount we apportion congregations. The Conference also heard that we grew worship attendance in 2017 and several miraculous testimonies of God’s wonder-working power through the United Methodists of Greater New Jersey. Miracles are everywhere in and through the ministries of GNJ.

GNJ approved two new partnerships with Tanzania and Puerto Rico Annual Conferences, enacted Leadership 100 in a new strategic plan that will continue us on a path to develop transformational leaders through 2023 and committed to a campaign to raise $5.2 million for Next Generation, a student ministry seeking to make 2,000 youth and young adult disciples, A Future With Hope to develop 30 Hope Centers in five years and affordable housing, hurricane relief and global mission. The below video was produced by the Conference to give a quick summary of what happened:



The Conference Journal booklet details all of the legislation and reports discussed during the conference. To view this journal, click this button:





The theme of this year’s conference was “Miracles Everywhere.” Throughout the legislation, worship, and teaching, we were constantly reminded of God’s presence and activity in our midst as the people of the Greater NJ Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The following “drop down boxes” attempt to take you to the conference. If you’ve never attended an annual conference, the below will give you a taste of what it’s like. Even if you have attended these conferences before, the pictures shown below will introduce you to some of the many leader servants (both laity and clergy) whose dedication and faith allow the Holy Spirit to work through the ministry of Greater New Jersey (our conference includes all of New Jersey and parts of New York and Pennslyvania… it’s those “out of state” parts that make NJ Greater!)

Open the below boxes and explore how God is making miracles happen in Greater New Jersey.

Miracles are Everywhere!


Miracles thru Justice

Desegregating N.J. Schools

Justice Gary Stein

In a historic move, United Methodists affirmed joining a lawsuit coordinated by the New Jersey Coalition of Diverse and Inclusive Schools (NJCDIS) to bring a remedy to school segregation for 271,000 Black and Latino students who attend segregated New Jersey schools.

Retired NJ Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein is helping to lead this effort, and he spoke to the conference to thank us for lending our name to the suit.


For more information: De-Segregation


Ensuring Gender Equality

Kathleen Schulz, President United Methodist Women

The Discipline (the governing document of the United Methodist Church) contains specific language to ensure equal treatment of people of all races. However, it didn’t have similar language guaranteeing the same equality of women. An amendment was proposed during our most recent General Conference (2016), but a clerical error included a line in the amendment which had been deleted by the committee. Even though the amendment was approved by the General Conference, it erroneously included the stricken line which implied that the Bible didn’t use any masculine terms when referring to God (despite the inclusion of phrases such as “God the Father” or “The Son of God”). The intent of the amendment is to declare that God is neither male or female, and that gender discrimination should not be tolerated.

Amendments must be approved by a super majority of votes taken at each Annual Conference. The aggregate vote, not the approval/disapproval of each Annual Conference is what counts. When the mis-worded amendment was voted upon by the Annual Conferences, the amendment was rejected…. by fewer than 100 votes! Many delegates indicated that they would have voted for it had it not contained the line that should have been deleted. So, the corrected amendment is now being circulated through the Annual Conferences for a re-vote.

The text of the correct amendment is shown below (and it was approved by our conference by an overwhelming majority).

As the Holy Scripture reveals, both men and women are made in the image of God and, therefore, men and women are of equal value in the eyes of God. The United Methodist Church acknowledges the long history of discrimination against women and girls. The United Methodist Church shall confront and seek to eliminate discrimination against women and girls, whether in organizations or in individuals, in every facet of its life and in society at large. The United Methodist Church shall work collaboratively with others to address concerns that threaten women’s and girls’ equality and well-being.

For more information: Amendment


Eliminating Poverty

Susan Henry-Crowe

Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary of Church and Society, spoke to the Annual Conference about eliminating poverty, the realities of its root causes, and how we as the church ought to address the issue. “When did we start caring about ourselves more than we care about those who serve and work for us?” she asked. She challenged United Methodists to imagine an economy that works and honors the dignity and worth of all people.

For more information: UMC Justice

Miracles thru Vision

It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. Common sense, covered with a layer of Christian emotion, becomes your guide.

– Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest, March 4)

2013 through 2017 Strategic Plan Successfully Completed

Meeting most of the goals set forth in the Five-Year plan adopted in 2013, GNJ grew average worship attendance in 2017. Through the 2013 strategic plan, over the last four years grew the number of people in small groups and hands-on mission, increased giving to mission, started more than 50 new faith communities, rebuilt 271 homes in response to Superstorm Sandy and launched five new resources to assist congregations, laity and clergy in achieving the mission.

Goals of 2013 Strategic Plan was to grow from 14% to 41% vital congregations by:

  1. Increasing the percentage of churches growing in worship attendance from 33% to 51%
  2. Starting 90 new faith communities
  3. Decreasing the number of worshipers it takes to make a new profession of faith from 17 to 15
  4. Increasing the percentage of worshipers in small groups from 43% to 75%
  5. Increasing the number of young adults in small groups from 2820 to 3200
  6. Increases our racial ethnic worshipers from 20% to 25%
  7. Increasing the percentage of worshipers engaged in mission from 8% to 40%
  8. Increasing local church dollars spent on mission 15% to 17%
  9. Raising $12 million through a mission campaign.

For more information: 2013 Strategic Plan


New Five-Year Strategic Plan Approved

The new plan opens with the question: “Why does GNJ Exist?”

A good place to start! Here’s the answer declared by the plan:

GNJ exists to recruit and develop transformational leaders so that people and communities experience healing, renewal and wholeness from God. Transformational leaders grow vital congregations who shape passionate disciples of Jesus Christ and share faith, hope and justice in the community.

Rev. Hector Burgos, Connectional Ministries

The Connectional Table led GNJ in the strategic plan for 2019-23, which includes strategies of new faith communities, Next Gen ministries, community development, Hope Centers, cultural shifts and equipping and cultivating 100 clergy and 100 laity who make disciples who make disciples.

In other words, we want to engage the younger generation and continue to shift from a Church that serves itself into one that creatively seeks to serve the community. Here are some efforts / programs you’ll hear about in the next five years (and beyond)…

NextGen Ministries The current IGNITE Youth Conference has been successful, and it will be expanded. We will also work to form local community focused places for young people to be introduced to Christ. New Camping experiences, and ministries located on college campuses. Check out the NextGen website.

Hope Centers An offspring of our A Future with Hope Campaign, “Hope Centers” will be facilities that specifically meets the needs of the community by serving children, youth, families, seniors, and vulnerable populations.

Rosa Williams, Conference Lay Leader

Mosaic Ministries A new way of thinking about and doing local church ministry. “You can’t break the church by letting the youth try new things!”

Laity Leadership Academy In addition to the Regional Days of Learning (one of which is hosted in our church), the Lay Leadership Academy is a Conference-wide training event, that’s held on a Saturday (at the Conference Resource Center in Neptune NJ). This year’s academy will be held on Saturday September 7, 2018. Participants will choose from one of five “Tracks”, all of which aim to build up the local church and its ability to be a positive resource for the community.


The overall goal of the Plan is to move From a church that __ TO a church that ___…

A church that mostly serves its members and clergy… a mission that connects with the people in the community through relevant ministries.
Congregations with a single cultural expression and privilege… congregations with multicultural expression and intercultural competence.
Concentrating ministry and thinking with current church members… further extend ministry and thinking to make and engage younger and more diverse generations of disciples.
Sharing information through workshops to train leaders… using workshops that interact with and experience the content to form leaders.
Maintaining congregations and their buildings… working with congregations to repurpose buildings for regenerative mission.
Depending exclusively on Shared Ministries (apportionments) for mission and ministry… cultivating new sources of income to grow mission and ministry.

For more information: Strategic Plan


Leadership Addresses

Throughout the conference, Conference leaders embraced the Strategic Plan by reporting on the successes that have already occurred. We are hungry for more…

Rev. Hector A. Burgos, Director of Connectional Ministries, led a leadership address that included remarks from Rev. Sang Won Doh, Chair of the Connectional Table, Rosa Williams, Conference Lay Leader, and Rev. Iraida Ruiz De Porras, Chair of the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministries. These leaders shared their visions for a new strategic plan, the progress made in fulfilling mission and the next steps the Spirit is leading GNJ to take in the years to come.

They celebrated new faith communities and the success of resources such as:

They outlined how GNJ will assist 100 congregations to grow from one church size to the next, grow intercultural competency, develop the Next Generation of disciples through summer camps, IGNITE, and campus ministries, and strengthen the resourcing of the laity.

Miracles thru Stewardship

Conference Budget & Shared Giving

Judy Colorado, Council on Finance & Administration

The Greater NJ Conference is creating “Miracles Everywhere”; striving to grow new disciples and to relieve suffering at home and around the world. All of this takes money. Local churches across the state pull their resources together to fund these efforts. We call this pooling “Shared Giving “(or “apportionments”). The support from each church depends on the church’s size (as measured by their expenses).

To the greatest extent possible, the Conference makes every effort to keep dollars “at home” in the local churches. One of our goals is to become “a mission that connects with the people in the community through relevant ministries.” These “Relevant Ministries” need funding at the local level.

Over the past few years, the Conference has sought to reduce the burden placed on local churches by reducing the “base percentage.” Each local church’s responsibility is determined by multiplying their applicable expenses by this percentage. In the next five years, this “base percentage” will decrease from 16.3% to 15.6%. The budget for the Conference is based on the income; not on projected costs. We anticipate that by decreasing the “base percentage”, more churches will be able to pay 100% of their shared giving targets and that the overall Conference income will remain constant or actually increase.


Centenary Fund

Retired pastor Doug Miller took the podium and described the Centenary Fund as a way to “maintain our old worn out pastors.” Maybe a bit too self-defacing, but the Conference is an employer, and we’ve all been blessed by the pastors it provides. Our responsibility to care for our

Rev. Doug Miller

retired clergy has long been appreciated, and this fund was created for that purpose. Since the fund came into existence around the time of the Centenial anniversary of the Methodist Church, it has been called the Centenary Fund.

The fund provides health care. It assists people in times of stress and need by providing services such as counseling, transportation, and housing.

An offering specifically benefiting the Centenary Fund was taken during the conference.

Miracles thru Partnerships

Miracles Everywhere Campaign

GNJ committed to a new mission campaign – Miracles Everywhere, which will transform and deepen the lives and faith of the Next Generation, partner with Puerto Rico in hurricane relief, launch Hope Centers across GNJ and partner with the Tanzania Annual Conference to train new pastors, build new congregations, and build a Hope Center for mission engagement.

Bishop Schol gave a moving account of he and his wife, Beverly’s own commitment to the campaign and shared the results of leadership gifts which total nearly $300,000! An offering for the new Miracles Everywhere Campaign was taken and more than $30,000 was collected to bring the total committed to date to $2.9 million. The full campaign goal is $5.2 million.

To read more about the Miracles Everywhere Campaign: Miracles Everywhere


Partnerships with Puerto Rico and Tanzania Conferences

GNJ voted to create a partnership with Methodists in Puerto Rico and Tanzania as a part of the Miracles Everywhere Campaign. Bishop Hector Ortiz of The Methodist Church of Puerto Rico and Bishop Muyombo of the North Katanga Episcopal Region, which includes Tanzania, addressed the 2018 Annual Conference and celebrated GNJ’s partnership and commitment to their regions through hurricane recovery work, starting new congregations, and training pastors to make disciples for the transformation of the world. Together, they joined Bishop Schol in a signing of a partnership covenant before the entire body.

Click here for more information. Partnerships

Miracles with Communities

Too often, we in the church loose sight of the fact that we are part of our communities. We think of the ministries we can do FOR our community and miss out on the opportunities that come when we work WITH our community….

Passionate Discipleship

Rev. Junius Dotson

Guest speaker Junius Dotson, General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries, spoke on making, shaping and engaging passionate disciples of Jesus Christ. He challenged United Methodists to unpack what it means to truly be a disciple, holding an altar call where he invited members of GNJ to come forward and publicly commit to disciple-making.

During his message, he introduced us to an effort called “See All the People” (which originates from the old Sunday School exercise of folding your hands into a steeple… “here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open your hands, and see all the people.”). The mission of “See all the People” (and of our discipleship in the community) can be summed up by the following exhortation:

“Let’s stop Fixing Churches and

Start Seeing the People God calls us to reach!”

To make an eternal difference in people’s lives by “making and shaping passionate disciples of Jesus Christ”, Rev. Dotson reminded us that our discipleship must be both Personal and Corporate. First, we must be a disciple to make a disciple. Then, we use the gifts of the local church to equip people; to give them opportunities to grow.

“Healthy people develop healthy Congregations,

Healthy Congregations develop healthy People.”

Rev. Dotson then discussed the “Movement” (not program!) whose logo adorned the bags we were given when we checked into the conference: See All the People.

Discipleship (either personal or corporate) begins with relationship. One of the purposes of the See All the People website is to give examples (“best practices”) and ideals of how we can engage our communities. We have to work WITH people, not AT them.

“People don’t care how much you know,

until they know how much you care.”

Our relationship with our communities must be organic- authentic. We must be where the people are and not be an island. We need to spend time with people; not to preach AT them, but to develop mutually beneficial, loving, relationships.

For more on Discipleship, check out this conversation with Trey Wince: Discipleship

For more on how PUMC is trying to answer this call: Neighbors


Community Development Workshop

On Monday afternoon, we had the opportunity to meet in “small groups” to share ideas and learn from experts by attending one of a series of workshops.

One of these sessions was presented by Dr. Katelin Hanson, who serves as the “Strategic Initiatives Director” for a UM church in Ohio named the “Church for All People.”

Just as the Pitman United Methodist Church grew out of the Camp Meeting that met in the Pitman Grove, The Church for All People grew out of a “Free Store” which “sold” donated clothing to people in the community.

The Mission came first, and then the community started the church.

Dr. Hanson’s job title (and the title of the workshop) is a mouthful, but basically it boils down to the simple message of doing ministry WITH our community instead of AT our community. We serve a God of divine abundance, and our call is to take what we’ve been given, pool it together, and then do what we can to make a difference in people’s lives.

Our normal way of thinking is “Needs Based” ministries. We think of “Deficits” and try to fill them. Instead, Dr. Hanson suggested we work in an “Asset Based” model. In Matthew 15:34 Jesus looked at the hungry crowd and asked His disciples “How many loaves do you have?” Like the boy in John 6:9 who offered his two barley loves and two fish, we need to get together, see what we have and then work together to leverage our assets. If it’s not enough, God will give us more.

She told of one church which had taken a closed drive through liquor store and turned it into a food pantry. She led us in an exercise where people identified their passions and possessions:

  • I have a truck…
  • I like to restore furniture…
  • I can fix appliances…
  • I have experience in cleaning mold and mildew…
  • I own a storefront…

From these gifts, we could see how a ministry could be created to fill the community’s need for inexpensive furniture and appliances. The problem of household needs was turned into an opportunity to build relationships. As missionaries Jim & Alice Vanderhoof have written, “Strive to live at the intersection of your passion and God’s heart for the world.


For more info: For All People

Miracles thru Family



Bishop Schol welcomes Rev. Mary Robinson

One of the first items of “business” during an annual conference is the Service of Ordination. This service is held on Sunday evening. During this service, the bishop ordains new Elders and Deacons, and he commissions Provisional Elders and recognizes Associate Members.

This year’s service welcomed eight newly commissioned Provisional Elders, five newly Ordained Elders, one Deacon, one Associate Member, eight transfers from other conferences and or denominations, and 19 new local pastors.

During his ordination message,Bishop Schol reminded us that God is a God of miracles. He challenged us to shift our perspective and to stop limiting God by thinking of Him as a God of “Or” (thinking that we can only have “A” or “B”).  Our God is generous and abundant; He is a God of “And”!

A shifted perspective means that we stop dividing ourselves into an “A” camp or a “B” camp.  God includes us all; His work with ordinary people transcends our limitations of “Or.”   When we’re too busy lining up on one side of the “Or”, we miss God.  Our culture of “Or” tends to pit us against eachother.  We need to shift our perspective and become a culture of “And.”


On the other side of Ordination (the addition of clergy members), part of the annual conference is to recognize the retirement of clergy members. This year recognized 24 retiring clergy; the combined service of these clergy added up to 550 years!

This year’s retirees who have a connection to Pitman:

  • Rev. Richard Nichols– Former Delaware Bay District Superintendent
  • Rev. Paul Amey– Son of former PUMC member, Rev. Jay Amey
  • Rev. Carl Shinn– Annual speaker at the Pitman Camp Meeting
  • Rev. Sherry Zapolla– Also a regular speaker at the Pitman Camp Meeting

Passing the Mantle

After the Ordination Service, and then after the Recognition of Retirees, another annual tradition is to declare that God’s work continues. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. And so, in a series of “passing the mantle…

  1. The Retirees anoint the newly ordained Elders…
  2. The newly ordained Elders anoint the newly commissioned Provisional Elders…
  3. The Provisional Elders anoint the newly certified Local Pastors…
  4. The Local Pastors symbolically pass the mantle to the Conference Lay Leader.


Memorial Service

Rev. Ron Watts

One of the most touching moments of an annual conference is the service of remembrance. This service recognizes the clergy, clergy spouses and lay members who have passed away since we last met. The names of each person are read, and as their name appears on the screen, anyone touched by the life of the person stands in reverence and reflection. This year, we honored the memory of 27 of our departed family.

After the reading of the names, Rev. Ron Watts delivered the message. Rev. Watts, who retired this year, spoke of the “stones” or “monuments” which speak to us. When the waters of the Jordan were held back and the Israelites crossed into Israel, Joshua directed the people to build a monument of stones taken from the Jordon River. He instructed the people to use these stones to remind their children of God’s power and that they must always worship Him (see Joshua 4).

Rev. Watts also spoke of other “stones” that are present in our own day: the Western wall in Jerusalem and the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. He then related a personal experience of when he returned to his boyhood town in an attempt to re-connect with his past. But everything had changed; the old pulpit of his church (pastored by his father) was tucked away in storage. The tabernacle which produced many summer memories was nowhere to be found. However, after much searching through the woods, he came across a single brick. A stone. Something that connected him with his father.

Rev. Watts then challenged us to become “stones” for our children and for those who come behind us. How are we connecting others to our Heavenly Father? Are we living stones shaped by Christ?


Worship and Prayer

The conference was led in joyful worship with praise songs sung in six languages, a 50 plus member choir and a special guest performance by Mark Miller during the Service of Remembrance. The prayer team, led by Gina Yeske, coordinated 40 days of prayer before Annual Conference and set up prayer stations throughout the convention center. The prayer team prayed for every delegate by name and prayed over every seat in the convention center before the Ordination Service on Sunday night.



John Wesley traveled by horseback from town to town, preaching the gospel. In a similar way, pastors in the United Methodist Church are itinerant. They are not members of the local church in which they serve. Instead, they are members of the Annual Conference. Clergy are appointed by the Conference for a period that’s “generally” between 4-7 years. Some pastors serve fewer years; some have served their local church for many years.

Appointments last one year, from July to July. Clergy who have been appointed to a new church are introduced during the annual conference. The Superintendent of the “receiving district” reads each appointment while the pastor and the lay members of the new church come forward to receive their letter of appointment (and to pose for a picture with the bishop).

Shown below are the Discrict Superintendents from our area. Revs. Myrna Bethke and Brian Roberts lead the districts that border our own Delaware Bay district. Rev. Glenn Conaway is our District Superintendent.


Pastor Jim WAS re-appointed to PUMC!!!


Fun ‘n Games…

Annual conference isn’t all about boring business. We actually enjoy getting together and enjoying each other’s company.

At one point during the conference, as we were waiting for lunch to be prepared, Trey Wince (Director of New Disciples) did his Phillie Phanatic impression by appearing on stage and shooting Tee-Shirts at the crowd with an air gun. Bishop Schol even got into the act and threw some shirts into the hopeful arms waiting to catch a freebie.

Miracles thru Mission

A Future with Hope

During the conference we celebrated our A Future With Hope ministry. This effort was created in response to the storm known as “Superstorm Sandy” which pummeled the East Coast in October of 2012. Over 82,000 homes in New Jersey were heavily damaged, displacing over 161,000 people.

Bruce Hartman, A Future with Hope

During the past 5 years, local Methodist churches have sent and hosted teams of volunteers to “muck out” homes, and then to repair or help rebuild them. To date, A Future With Hope has completed the work on 250 homes. Only 15 more are scheduled for completion. It’s been almost 6 years since the storm hit, but full recovery hasn’t come.

A Future With Hope’s chairman of the board, Bruce Hartman, spoke to the conference to give us an update. He also described their vision for the future. Taking what we’ve learned, we are now developing “Hope Centers” which will work with the communities to provide the resources like the following:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Shelter for the Homeless
  • Preschools
  • Day Care
  • Legal Assistance

For more info: A Future with Hope


Rise Against Hunger

Mission isn’t just something we talk about during the conference; it’s actually something we do DURING the conference!

On Monday afternoon, attendees are given the opportunity of participating in one of several workshops or of helping out in the “Rise Against Hunger” mission project. Volunteers gathered in the convention center’s “dining hall” where they enthusiastically worked as a team to pack 30,000 meals. A couple of hours of work supported Rise Against Hunger’s effort to feed people around the world with a bold mission to end world hunger by 2030.

For more info. Rise Against Hunger




Episcopal Address

One of the highlights of an annual conference occurs on the first morning of the conference: the Episcopal Address. This “state of the Conference” address outlines the previous successes and the Conference’s visions, goals, and challenges anticipated for the upcoming year.

Here’s a summary of the Bishop’s address…

Bishop Schol celebrated the miracles in the midst of GNJ congregations and thanked the laity and congregations for their continued leadership and service to develop transformational leaders to make disciples and grow vital congregations to transform the world. He presented a clear path forward for Greater New Jersey, building on what’s been accomplished to take on a new strategic plan that will focus on leadership.

He also discussed the challenges United Methodists face regarding how we treat gays and lesbians within our denomination, in our congregations and as clergy. Regardless of the polity within the denomination, the Bishop said now is the time to act for justice and mercy to work toward desegregating schools in N.J. God is calling us now.

If congregations are growing, but not serving the community, not serving the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, then we are not the church of Jesus Christ.

– Bishop John Schol

You can view the text of the address here: Episcopal Address




Beverly & John Schol wrap up the conference on an emotional note

Bishop Schol closed the session with moving testimony calling GNJ to go deeper in conversation with each other and with conference leaders about questions they have regarding the governance and legislation before the body.

The Bishop’s wife, Beverly, joined her husband on the stage. With Beverly by his side, Bishop Schol made a heart-felt appeal, and expressed his love and appreciation for the Greater NJ Conference.

This year’s Annual Conference will go down in history as one in which profound decisions were made and plans enacted to transform our community, state and the world. Attendees left inspired, recognizing the miracles in their midst and realizing that they too are part of making those miracles happen.



= = = = = = = =

Conference Videos…

After the conclusion of the conference, the Conference posted a series of videos on the Conference You Tube channel.  Below are some of them. 
Use the “Previous” and “Next” buttons to scroll through the videos, then click the “play” button (play only one video at a time…)

Ordination Service

Episcopal Address

Laity Session

Laity Recognition

Next Gen Ministries

Miracles Everywhere

Vital Mission Partners (such as A future with Hope)…

Junius Dotson Keynote on “Passionate Discipleship”

Susan Henry-Crowe, Keynote Address on Ending Poverty

Service of Remembrance

Passing the Mantle

Reading of Appointments

Closing Remarks

To view other videos about the conference, visit the Greater NJ Conference’s You Tube Channel: Videos


Reviewing Our Goals…

The new Five-Year strategic plan envisions our Church making the following “moves”…

(click the “Previous” and “Next” buttons to review the key goals)

FROM A church that mostly serves its members and clergy…

TO A mission that connects with the people in the community

through relevant ministries.

FROM Congregations with a single cultural expression and privilege…

TO Congregations with multicultural expression and

intercultural competence.

FROM Concentrating ministry and thinking with current church members…

TO Further extend ministry and thinking to make and engage younger

and more diverse generations of disciples.

FROM Sharing information through workshops to train leaders…


TO Using workshops that interact with and experience

the content to form leaders.

FROM Maintaining congregations and their buildings…


TO Working with congregations to repurpose buildings

for regenerative mission.

FROM Depending exclusively on Shared Ministries (apportionments)

for mission and ministry…

TO cultivating new sources of income to grow mission and ministry.



Quiz Time!

In case you didn’t notice, this article was reallllly long! Hopefully you took some time and explored at least part of what this year’s conference was all about. Just for entertainment, below is a quiz; no grades, nothing stored. It’s completely anonymous. Give it a shot and see what you know about annual conference…




To learn even more about the conference, here’s the post that announced the event…

Announcement Post


As we approach Pentecost Sunday… it must be that time of the year again: Annual Conference!

The United Methodist Churches of “Greater” New Jersey are connected together; we share resources and best practices. We learn from each other. We make decisions that affect the whole body.

Once a year, the “Greater New Jersey” Conference of the worldwide United Methodist Church gathers in Wildwood NJ to vote on legislation, and to worship, study, and ordain new Deacons and Elders.

Each local church sends “delegates” to the conference; generally one clergy member (the pastor) and one Lay Member (the person who has been chosen by that church as their Lay Member to Annual Conference). The intent is to have an equal number of clergy and lay delegates present during the conference.

The conference is presided by the Conference’s bishop. In our case, that is Bishop John Schol. The conference begins on Sunday May 20 and adjourns on Tuesday May 22.

The theme of this year’s conference is,”Miracles Everywhere!

Here’s a rough outline of what happens during the conference:


Sunday (starts around 4 PM)…

  • Clergy and Laity sessions
  • Service of Ordination and Commissioning


Monday (5/21)

  • Communion on the beach
  • Praise and Worship service
  • Bishop Schol’s Episcopal Address (kinda a “State of the Conference” speech)
  • Making, Shaping and Engaging Passionate Disciples of Jesus Christ – Junius Dotson, General Secretary, Discipleship Ministries
  • Celebration of A Future With Hope Recovery Ministry and What’s Next
  • Vital Mission Partner Updates – (Report about the missions of the Greater NJ Annual Conference)
    • A Future With A Future With Hope
    • Nehemiah Properties
    • The United Methodist Stewardship Foundation of Greater New Jersey
    • The Centenary Fund, United Methodist Communities
  • “Service of Passage” (retired pastors “pass the baton”to the newly ordained clergy)
  • Our Global Partners – (Reports on Global Missions)
    • Bishops Hector Ortiz, Methodist Church of Puerto Rico
    • Mande Muyombo, North Katanga Episcopal Area
  • More legislation / More reports…
  • Workshops / Mission Project


Tuesday (5/22)

  • Communion on the beach
  • Praise and Worship
  • Eliminating Poverty – Susan Henry Crowe, General Secretary, Church and Society
  • Service of Remembrence (clergy and spouses who passed away during the past year)
  • Reading of the Appointments (Newly appointed pastors receive official letters of appointment)
  • Legislation
  • Adjournment

For additional details, you can access the entire itinerary and “pre-conference journal”: Journal


2017’s conference…

To get a flavor of what happens, take a look at the below post about last year’s conference…


The Conference will be live streamed (by the Conference… not by our own Live Stream system)…

Click the below button to watch the proceedings:

Conference Live Stream


For more details on this year’s conference, click this button: Miracles Everywhere



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To learn more about our church’s connection with the Greater NJ Annual Conference, click this button: GNJAC



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