Holy conferencing is part of our Methodist heritage


    Last month, I experienced another powerful movement of the Holy Spirit as the 2012 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church conducted its sacred work.  
   Ministry for the upcoming quadrennium (four years) was organized and planned. Nominations for ministry teams were made. Ministry reports were received from jurisdictional ministries such as our Emory University, Candler School of Theology, Gammon Theological Seminary, Duke Divinity School, Hinton Rural Life Center, Gulfside Assembly, Lake Junaluska Assembly, archives and history center, Intentional Growth Center, United Methodist Men, youth and young people, and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission. Bishops and bishops' spouses who have died in this quadrennium were remembered. Recognition and thanksgiving were shared with bishops who are retiring. Also, of course, a new budget was adopted.
Much of the attention of the conference was given to the holy process of electing five new bishops to serve The United Methodist Church. North Georgia's beloved Reverend Jonathan Holston was elected on the very first ballot, and across a total of twenty-nine ballots four other bishops were chosen. North Georgia's Reverend Sharma Lewis also received strong support throughout the entire sacred experience as God's Spirit guided the four hundred and forty delegates in their voting.
The conference business sessions ended with the assignment of the bishops to the various episcopal areas, and Margaret and I are overjoyed that we were reassigned to North Georgia. We are most blessed to be allowed the holy privilege to serve here with you once again.
I wish that each of you could experience the awesome worship service as new bishops are consecrated on the last day of a jurisdictional conference. The very presence of God fills the building and the souls of everyone there.
Holy conferencing is part of our Methodist heritage. The ministry of the Church requires us to join our hearts, minds and hands together to hear God's call upon us and to respond to that call. It takes prayer, time and our very best efforts, but God's Holy Spirit gives us the strength required.
I have recently seen that when God's people gather in holy conferencing anywhere in the world, God's holy will can be revealed. It is always a joyful experience to be there for the movement of the Spirit.
Bishop Watson currently serves as the episcopal leader of the North Georgia United Methodist Conference. You can contact him via email at bishop@ngumc.org.