As a new quadrennium begins for The United Methodist Church, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the extended cabinet of the North Georgia Conference will join other United Methodist episcopal leaders and cabinets for a gathering in Jacksonville, Fla., to focus on building strong and vital congregations. Similar gatherings will be held in Europe, the Philippines and two locations in Africa.
The event, which will be held November 2-4, will be led by the bishops. The purpose of the learning experience is "to start the new quadrennium in a focused and disciplined way on the mission of cultivating vital congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
"We gather as a new quadrennial team of leaders whose primary task is to cultivate vital, healthy congregations to the end of making disciples and changing lives, our communities and the world," said Bishop Bruce Ough, president of the Council of Bishops.
The Council of Bishops has made a commitment to work toward increasing the number of vital congregations, churches that are engaged in developing principled Christian leaders, creating new places for new people, engaging in ministries with the poor, and improving global health. Over the next four years, the goal is to double the number of vital congregations.
While sharing knowledge and experiences regarding vital congregations is the central purpose of the Extended Cabinet Summit, participants will also get an update on progress toward forming the Commission on A Way Forward and related matters.
"As we gather, there will be much on our minds, and the minds of our leaders, regarding the tensions we face in our church. Much has transpired since we first proposed and began planning for this Summit," said Bishop Ough, referring to the direction taken by the General Conference on human sexuality and the subsequent actions since that time. "We need to acknowledge this context."
"Because we are a new Council team and many of our conference teams are also newly configured, we need to remember the “why” of our work and how far we have come," added Bishop Ough. "For those of us who have been engaged in this task for some time, we need to remember and claim again our purpose and priorities. For those new to our leadership tables, they need to know the work they are joining. Together, we need to imagine and be open to the ways in which the Holy Spirit will guide our next steps."