Each year, United Methodist churches hold a "charge conference" at which they review the events of the preceding year. The minister, treasurer, leaders and people who are involved in various ministries have a chance to report on their areas of interest. The reports are compiled into a booklet which is distributed to those in attendance. Sometimes the charge conference is held in the Fall, and sometimes early in the new year.
This is the report which I presented, as OUMC lay leader, to the 2016 Charge Conference, which was held on January 24, 2017. I prepared it at the last minute, and didn't have a chance to include it in the "official" booklet.
OUMC has been in a period of numerical decline for many years, due to the aging of its membership, and to its members' grown children moving away to other communities, where they may or may not continue to attend local churches.
In recognition of the fact that we're located in a mostly-Spanish-speaking community, Pastora Teresa Santillana was sent to us in 2001. Under her leadership, we expanded our membership by adding several dozen Latin Americans. That growth continued under her successor, Pastor Sergio Camacho.
Unfortunately, when Sergio was transferred away in 2014, most of those new members left with him. Our current bilingual pastor, Parson John McFarland, is reviving our Latino Ministry as best he can in the time available to him, which he must share with our Anglo congregation. John is also bringing in a variety of other new members, many of them through his support of the weekly Agape Café breakfasts.
Meanwhile, our church's ministries continue to serve this same community around us, distributing food to its families in our parking lot twice a month, and welcoming its children after school 4 days a week for help with their homework.
Quisiera presentar a un líder que tiene una posición muy importante en nuestra iglesia en sus esfuerzos de comunicar con la comunidad. Este líder se llama Roberto Navarro. Él se encarga de las distribuciones de comida, y también viene a cocinar la cena que servimos a nuestros vecinos cada mes en la Iglesia Cristiana.
As the OUMC lay leader, I urge all members and friends of our little church to do all in their power to promote the growth of this church and to promote its mission of showing Christ's love to all its neighbors, regardless of their cultures, origins or ethnicities. I am stepping down as lay leader March 1, 2017, but will work as long as I'm able toward these goals, and to support my successor.