It is only with the heart that one can see rightly

«Seek the Lord with all your heart!» was the theme of this year’s meeting of the Annual Conference Serbia/Macedonia, which took place from September 22 to 25, 2011, in Kisac (Serbia). The heart became, in many regards, the focus of the morning devotions and the evening worship services: a seeing heart, a firm heart, a seeking heart, a pure heart, a cheerful heart, a sanctified heart.

During the plenary meetings grateful hearts regularly found expression. It has been joyful to experience how Conference members spontaneously expressed their gratitude for the work of other people. This rendered a pleasant and encouraging touch to the gathering.

The report of the Superintendent of the UMC in Macedonia, however, also mentioned that the Methodists in Serbia and Macedonia have less and less in common and that they grow apart from one another. This was heard and accepted as a challenge. Only among the women there are regular encounters and visits at the women’s retreats. The chairpersons of the youth commissions of both countries expressed their willingness and aim to explore how gatherings of young adults from both Districts can take place again in the future. Playing music and singing also brought together old and new friends from both countries and awoke memories of the togetherness in the past.

The social changes become particularly visible in the work with children, youth and young adults. In the media work the new (social) media like Internet and Facebook are of increasing importance. On the other hand it is also noticeable that the lifeworlds of older and younger people develop very differently. Some local churches have trouble dealing with the changes, which will be necessary in order to welcome and integrate a new generation. The Annual Conference is an important place for raising awareness, for exchange and for consultation in this regard, as well.

Vladimir Fazekas was commissioned as Probationary Pastor. He is currently appointed to Vrbas UMC (Serbia). Marian Dimov was admitted in full connection. He is currently serving in Kocani (Macedonia) and will be ordained elder next spring in Skopje (Macedonia). We are very grateful for these two young pastors. On the other hand, we urgently need more people who are willing to be called to serve our church as pastors – particularly in Macedonia.

The delegates to General Conference 2012 are: Superintendent Ana Palik-Kuncak (Serbia, clergy) and Robert Milcev (Macedonia, lay). The next Annual Conference meeting will take place from October 18 to 21, 2012, in Macedonia.

Source: Office of Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich/Switzerland
Date: September 27, 2011