Saturday, August 07, 2010

3rd Annual Conference of the UMC de Venezuela

Bishop Juvenal Perez called to order the 3rd annual conference of the United Methodist Church of Venezuela at about 3:00 on Friday, August 6, 2010 on the Campus of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela in LaPiedad, Venezuela.  Pastors and laity came from all across the country to be a part of this time of reunion, reporting, worship, celebration and business. As the afternoon session adjourned for dinner, pastors were still arriving by bus from 20-24 hours away.

Pastor Toby Victor Ramirez led the opening devotional time followed by typical spirited Venezuelan singing and worship (Oh, how I long for the Church in the US to experience such vital worship). This was followed by a few words from the Bishop and then I taught/preached on Paul's call to the church at Philippi to "Shine like the Stars in the Universe." Dean Dan Dunn translated for me and did his usual excellent work.  A short break followed (with VZ coffee!) and then pastor Carlos Pirona preached from Exodus and defined the difference between selfish dreams or visions and God's vision and the necessity of the church holding on to the vision of God for the church.  Needless to say, he preached circles around the gringo.

There followed a break for dinner and then the Conference gathered for a time of high worship at the Ondas de Pas UMC in Cabudare.  This church has outgrown its former meeting place and is now renting space in the community of Aqua Viva  Unfortunately, my intestinal bug returned and I was unable to attend.  Hopefully we can get a later report from others who were there.

Today (Saturday) the conference will worship, hear some reports about conversions and new churches, elect their second bishop and close with Holy Communion and commissioning of the pastors.  The Bishop has asked me to take the gavel for the election since he feels to preside at what  may be his own election would be inappropriate.  He has also asked me to Celebrate Holy Communion at the end of the day.

Please keep this conference in  your thoughts and prayers.  God is blessing the UMC de Venezuela with reaching a lot of lost people.  Pray for faithfulness, integrity and strength.

The Seminario Wesleano de Venezuela was the birthing room for this Conference of the United Methodist  Church and continues to provide a critical link for the connection here among the United Methodist churches and pastors across all regions of this large country.

You can help in this work by sending a gift to;
Venezuela Now, Inc.
PO Box 1655
Duluth, GA  30096  USA

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