Bishop Rosemarie Wenner (right) of Germany, President-elect of the Council of Bishops and I are in Manila for the pre-General Conference briefing. We discovered that we were born in the same year. I won't tell you how old we are, but we are the average age of a United Methodist!
On the long flight to Manila, I sat by a Filipino couple who were returning home. They are Seventh Day Adventists. As I shared about my work with the UMC, they nodded their heads and said that the challenges we are seeking to address are the same for their denomination. They asked why my husband did not come with me, and when I shared that he was a pastor and was busy in ministry at his church, they smiled. "The local church! That's what it's all about!"

It is indeed what it's all about as we focus on "redirecting the flow of attention, energy and resources to an intense concentration on fostering and sustaining an increase in the number of vital congregations effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."

Forty-eight delegates from The Philippines will join in worship, prayer and study these next two days in preparation for the 2012 General Conference. For updates about this briefing, please check And please join your prayers with ours as together we prepare for a time of holy conferencing!

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