Annual Conference in Bulgaria

The Bulgaria Provisional Annual Conference met from April 3–5, 2009, in Veliko Tarnovo / Bulgaria. The meeting venue was selected because of two reasons: At Christmas 1859, the American missionary Dr. Albert Long held his first Bulgarian sermon in Veliko Tarnovo (which was then the Capital of Bulgaria), i.e. the UMC in Bulgaria could celebrate 150 years of Methodism in this country. On the other hand, the rebuilt church in Veliko Tarnovo was inaugurated in autumn 2008 – for the Church members nothing but a miracle and an answer to countless prayers. To host the Annual Conference was an opportunity to share their joy with the Brothers and Sisters from the other churches in Bulgaria – but also with a delegation from the Athens-Elberton District of the North Georgia Annual Conference, which came to establish a partnership – within the frame of «In Mission Together» (General Board of Global Ministries) – with the Bulgaria Provisional Annual Conference.

A new Conference lay leader, Valentin Pavlov from Varna UMC, was elected, and in the closing worship Rev. Mihail Stefanov, pastor of Schumen UMC, was ordained elder. With much gratitude the Conference accepted two new candidates for the Ordained Ministry: Milen Stefanov and Vladimir Schelesov, both from Dobric UMC.

In spite of serious economic challenges most of the Church members are faced with, the financial contributions towards the Church increased by 10%. This is a reason to rejoice and be grateful – even though most of these additional donations will be consumed by a very urgent increase in the pastors’ salaries.