UMC in Poland: Closer to God, Closer to the People...

From June 27-29, 2014, the Annual Conference of the UMC in Poland met in Klarysew near Warsaw. About 50 pastors and lay people had animated discussions on the mission and the work of the UMC in Poland.

One year ago, Andrzej Malicki was elected new leading superintendent. Together with the three new district superintendents Józef Bartos, Sławomir Rodaszyński and Waldemar Eggert and in close cooperation with Bishop Patrick Streiff, he was responsible for some improvements of the past conference year. This included an intensification in regard to accompanying and supporting the pastors, but also a culture of appreciation in the cooperation with lay members.

One of the main topics of this conference was the revision of the Internal Law with the aim of a distinct approximation to the Book of Discipline of the worldwide United Methodist Church. Although this issue had been dealt with intensively during the past conference year, only an incomplete text could be presented and discussed. The Internal Law will therefore most probably once again be presented for discussion and approval next year.

Another topic was the presentation of the new website of the UMC in Poland: http://metodysci.pl.

The transparent annual financial statement and the budget for 2014 amounting to 1.65 millions Zlotys were welcomed with appreciation.

Based on the respective decisions in the closed session of the pastors, Krzystof Kłusek and Ryszard Zimoń were received into full connection with the conference and were ordained elders. On the other hand Monika Zuber was not recommended for ordination although she received great praise from the plenary for her final exams and for her local church ministry. The question remained whether the UMC in Poland is not yet ready for the ordination of women? Particularly the women among the conference members – but also a number of men – expressed their disagreement with the fact that Monika Zuber could not be ordained, and they declared their solidarity with her.

The gathering was closed on Sunday with an ordination service recorded by Polish Television 2 – for the first time not at Warsaw UMC but at the conference center in Klarysew. During this worship service the former leading superintendent Adam Kuczma, who is more than 90 years old, received the title of an honorable general superintendent. The 60th birthday of the conference secretary Zbigniew Kaminski was acknowledged, as well. His birthday cake was part of the following lunch in the garden of the property, which developed to a joyful celebration with many participants.

Author: Jörg Niederer, district superintendent Switzerland-France-North Africa AC
Date: July 3, 2014