«To be a church together» – this was the motto of the annual meeting of Bulgaria Provisional Annual Conference, which was held from March 30 to April 1, 2012, in Pleven/Bulgaria.
More precisely this area will be called Bulgaria/Romania Provisional Annual Conference in the future, because «to be a church together» is also manifested in the reality that the UMC in Romania, which was established in September 2012, belongs to the Methodist work in Bulgaria. Rares Calugar, Local Pastor in Cluj, Romania, was officially commissioned for this service. He is supported by active lay people, who are carrying on – voluntarily or partially employed – the faith-sharing and serving ministries in the villages around Cluj.
By personal insights and the witness of people involved with partnerships of local churches in Bulgaria, Germany and the USA as well as by an impressive life testimony of Corneliu Goia, the lay delegate from Romania, it was expressed in various ways and languages what it means to be on the move together. All members and guests were thus encouraged to continue serving Christ and His people in the local churches.
During the last year the local churches in Bulgaria have been combined to larger charge conferences under the leadership of the ordained elders (currently there are six of them) and the Superintendent. This structure has proved to be a helpful source of mutual encouragement, and in these new charge conferences the larger churches can strengthen the ministries in the small village churches by sending volunteers. The ministry with children and youth in Mizia and Voyvodovo was one of the examples presented to the Annual Conference.
The fact that the UMC in Bulgaria is slowly but continuously growing – both in regard to membership and financial contributions – was a reason for joy and gratitude. Particularly the latter is a remarkable achievement given the poor economic condition of the country.
The next meeting of the Bulgaria/Romania Provisional Annual Conference will take place from April 12 to 14, 2013.
Source: Office of Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich/Switzerland
Date: May 14, 2012