Annual Conference (from a lay perspective)
June 21, 2023 Creekwood United Methodist Church

Perceived Value - Deep Thoughts

Posted in Deep Thoughts

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First of all, you might be asking “What is Annual Conference?

The United Methodist Church has a geographical organizational structure.

General Conference includes an equal number of laity and clergy from all over the globe and is the highest level of organization/leadership of the UMC. General Conference is the only authoritative voice for the UMC and functions much like the structure of the United States government (along with the Judicial Council and College of Bishops).

Jurisdictional Conferences are broad geographical regions that elect bishops for their own jurisdiction and support things like camping ministries, college ministries, and more regional initiatives.

Annual Conferences are hyper-localized geographical organizing units of the UMC to connect churches in one area in mission and ministry. Each Annual Conference is led by a Bishop and meets once a year to both conduct the business/organization of the geographical collection of churches and be inspired for the work of Jesus Christ anew for the next ministry year.

Each local church is allowed to send as many laity as they have appointed clergy, so Creekwood was represented by Julie Stelly and Janey Richardson, who are both members of our Leadership Board. This was Janey’s first time to attend, and here’s what she had to say:

“The Holy Spirit is in this place…” That was the overwhelming feeling experienced throughout the North Texas Conference; through the great music, the words of the speakers, and the message that “We are all God’s children” through the ever-important thread of justice and love for all of our neighbors.  This was my first time to experience the “business side” of our Methodist Faith. Gone are the days that I “just come” to Church and Sunday School; through the Conference, I understand (albeit limited) the workings that support who we are and the many ideas and opportunities available to make us stronger.

This was Julie’s impression of Annual Conference:

‘Be Strong. Take Heart. Hope in the Lord!’ was the theme of last week’s North Texas Annual Conference, only my second to have the honor to attend. The experience, from beginning to end, was a time of revival! And pride! There is so much GOOD going on in The United Methodist Church. I’m so proud to be a part of a denomination that truly strives to live like Jesus.  

Bishop Ruben Saenz was sincere and inspiring, as he reminded us that we are ‘ancestors’ of our churches and our faith. What will our children inherit? How can we be better ancestors and better storytellers of the benefits and pure joy of living a Christ-filled life? How can we better meet the youngest among us, our children and grandchildren, where they are? 

We have been challenged, and we are up to the challenge!  Be Strong. Take Heart. Trust in the Lord! There’s so much GOOD going on in our denomination, and SO MUCH GOOD going on at Creekwood!

I agree. SO MUCH GOOD! And I love the expression “we are ancestors of our faith.” It’s a forward-thinking concept that we are not building church culture that seeks to satisfy us, but is set to empower the next generation to be even better than we are. As part of our church’s vision includes a special caveat that “we will prioritize ministry to the next generation,” I hope you will consider how you are actively being “an ancestor to our faith.”

Now, here’s our Adult Small Group spotlight, and don’t forget to scroll down to the end for a very important schedule announcement.


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Agape meets in Room 102 on Sunday mornings at 9:45 am. It’s a group with people of all ages and stages of life that is very active in just about every aspect of the church. The Agape group prides itself on being a safe space to ask questions about God and Church that many feel they aren’t allowed to ask, in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. Often they dig deep into how scripture and Christianity intersect with life outside the walls of the church through video lessons and lively discussions.

If you’d like to ask any questions or would like to visit them, contact Lyndsey Lessner or Bill Bradford.

Schedule Announcement for July

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To give some of our musicians a break and give everyone a chance to experience something or someone new, we are only going to experiment with only having 1 worship time in July at 11 am.

We WILL still have Sunday school for all ages at 9:45 am.

The style of worship will alternate.

  • July 2 – Traditional
  • July 9 – Contemporary
  • July 16 – Traditional
  • July 23 – Contemporary
  • July 30 – Student Praise Band

I encourage you to come every week and experience the joy of music you may not be used to and meet someone that worships during a different hour normally. Stay tuned to the Weekly Newsletter, Facebook/Instagram, and Deep Thoughts e-mails for special opportunities for further fellowship and mission during July.

We will resume our normal worship schedule in August.


David Lessner

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