Listening - Learning - Growing Together

From March 8-11, 2018, the Executive Committee of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe met in Budapest (Hungary). The work on the theme «Communication and teambuilding» was an important part of the program – but there were also discussions on several topics.
About 30 women and men of The United Methodist Church (UMC) in ten countries met in the Hungarian capital in the first half of March 2018. One year ago, they had been elected as members of the Executive Committee or as chairpersons of a working group of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe. The meeting in Budapest offered a first opportunity for evaluation and further planning. Among the participants, there were also the future superintendents of the UMC in Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovakia.
Against the background of the changes in the Executive Committee and the challenges of a Church that crosses borders in many regards, the focus theme «Teambuilding and Communication» was chosen for this meeting. The implementation was done very creatively and variedly: playing / singing Taizé songs in four parts / celebrating Holy Communion / visiting the «Invisible Exhibition», which is an interactive journey to an invisible world in total darkness / sharing about a culture of candor – and enjoying common meals.
Given the choice of the theme, it was quite appropriate that the official language of the Executive Committee gathering was, for the first time, English. This involved some challenges and did certainly not completely level all differences in regard to language skills. But it strengthened the mutual understanding and the togetherness because all had to communicate in a language, which is not their first one.
The Executive Committee also had substantial conversations and took a number of decisions:
- The work on an elemental order of worship, which is both connecting and flexible, will continue. The Working Group Liturgy now aims to find local churches in the various countries of the Central Conference, which are willing to gain experience with a conscious and consistent local application of the four general parts of worship (arriving / listening / sharing / going forth) or with the discovery of the Lord’s Table as the nucleus of Christian worship.
- The revised German translation of the Social Principles with the changes adopted by General Conference 2016 (e.g. new articles on culture and identity, pornography, bullying) was approved.
- The «Guidelines for a responsible lifestyle» shall be adjusted in terms of content and language by Central Conference 2021.
- As far as the election of a new bishop in 2021 is concerned, a proposal of a nomination and election procedure was discussed and approved.  
- The Executive Committee received the information that the good financial situation of the Central Conference Pension Fund allows for an increase in pension payments per January 1, 2018, for current and future retirees as well as for the widows of pastors.
The next meeting of the Executive Committee will take place from March 6-10, 2019, in Macedonia. The focus theme will be «Poor and Rich in the Central Conference».
Source: Urs Schweizer, Assistant to Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich/Switzerland

Photo: Supt. Petr Prochazka from Czechia and the designated Superintendent Stefan Rendos from Slovakia