Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The first Methodist Conference was held on the 25th of June, 1744 in London, England.
About that Conference Rev. John Wesley said, “In June 1744, I desired my brother and a few other clergymen to meet me in London, to consider how we should proceed to save our own souls and those who heard us.”
The first Conference was attended by John and Charles Wesley and four other clergymen. They agreed to bring into their meeting four “lay preachers” who were already in the house where they were meeting. They then took up their three main agenda items: 1. What to teach? 2. How to teach? 3. How to regulate doctrine, discipline, and practice? They also discussed discipline and organization for the work that was growing.
When we meet in November this year in one sense it is only the 38th Session for us. On the other hand what we are doing is as a result of an old practise that was established out of necessity. Our coming together for conferencing is as important now as it was in 1744. This Conference Session is absolutely necessary for us in the wake of the challenges that we face in our nation post GE13, and in view of the challenges we continually face in our church. We need to discuss the way forward for our Annual Conference. We need to agree on church growth strategies. At the Executive Board retreat in January we agreed to use the General Conference theme, “Spreading Scriptural Holiness and Transforming the Nation” as our theme as well. At the same time it was also agreed that for this quadrennium we will continue with our Four Essentials – Lifelong Discipleship, Wholesome Families, A Voice to our Nation, A Vision for the World. While these have been established, still there will be much for us to do at our gathering in Port Dickson.
Let me on behalf of our Annual Conference welcome you and remind all of us to be praying for this Conference Session. Pray the presence of the Spirit of God will be manifestly felt. Pray the Holy Spirit will lead and guide and that the meeting will be conducted under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Pray at this 38th Session we may feel the same way John Wesley and others felt at their first Conference: “We conferred together for several days and were much comforted and strengthened thereby.”
Soli Deo Gloria!
Rev. T. Jeyakumar