Rev. Jerry Oakland 'energized' by Annual Conference

Rev. Jerry Oakland 'energized' by Annual Conference

June 10, 2018

The following is a transcript of a conversation between Rev. Jerry Oakland, Transitional Director of Connectional Ministries, and Rev. Dr. Art McClanahan, Director of Communications. Art and Jerry talk about the first half of Saturday at Annual Conference 2018, and what conference means to Jerry. The full conversation can be viewed in the video below.

Art: Reverend Jerry Oakland is the Transitional Director of Connectional Ministries. Jerry, we're just now in the first half of the first day of the 2018 Annual Conference. What are your thoughts as we have started this year?

Jerry: Well it's just always good to get together for Annual Conference and to talk about our ministry together. There's excitement as we think about the realignment that's taking place, the L3 process, and the new In Mission Together. There's just new things happening and that's part of the role of Annual Conference — to be ready for those and to get excited about them and be ready to bring them back to our local churches.

Art: We've got lay and clergy who have come from across all the conference, and some are first-timers and some have been here many years such as you have. Think about for a moment the transitions that you've experienced from your first years at Annual Conference to where we are in the experience this year.

Jerry: Sure. Many years ago it seems like we had Annual Conference's that were much longer than three days. I don't know if they were five days or six days, but they went forever. Now, we do it in three days and they are three full-packed days. One of the things we decided this morning is that we did not want to take time to argue about petitions to General Conference. Instead, we have our table discussions or listening session tomorrow to talk about those issues, and we decided we don't want to debate those this year. But our time is still packed. As you noticed this morning we had a couple of short things that we weren't able to handle this morning just because of the time. They are full days.

Art: I've got one last question for you Jerry, and this is more a Jerry question than a process question. What does Annual Conference mean to you?

Jerry: Well it's that time when we can gather together. Did you know there's a small phrase in the Book of Discipline that says, "Annual Conference is the basic unit of the United Methodist Church"? Well, here's our chance to live that out. To be together, to plan our missions together, and to be in fellowship together. I just really enjoy seeing people that I've known for years and to meet new people. To see and to hear about new ministries that are happening. What's happening in some churches that maybe the rest of us didn't know about. It's good to connect with one another and be energized for the year ahead.

Art: Thanks, Jerry.