I am looking forward to welcoming the clergy and lay members of Annual Conference to our 2014 session at Lake Junaluska, June 18-22. We have some exciting plans made around our theme for this year: Celebrating Generosity. Through Bible studies, worship services, and various reports we will experience another characteristic of what it means to be a “vital church” in the twenty-first century. This year marks the second of our four-year focus on increasing the number of vital churches across Western North Carolina by paying attention to qualities and characteristics of vital churches: missional, generous, evangelical, and hospitable. In the coming weeks, I will be writing a series of brief messages to help all of us prepare and anticipate our Annual Conference gathering.
All of the offerings for the 2014 session will be designated for the Imagine No Malaria initiative of our United Methodist Church. As a part of the denomination-wide Global Health Initiative goal of raising $75 million, our gifts this year will go toward the movement toward providing mosquito nets and health supplies in the on-going battle to eliminate malaria in many parts of the globe.