While the calendar showed that we are technically in the season of Spring, the temperature was more reminiscent of late February. The West Ohio Conference Center was the gathering place for 15 United Methodist Rural Church leaders from across the U.S. Several important items of business were conducted.
The primary purpose of the meeting was to finalize legislation that UMRA will be proposing for General Conference 2016 in Portland, OR. A variety of petitions and resolutions that had been proposed for UMRA submission at the Legislative Consultation in October, 2014 were discussed and approved for sending to the General Conference for consideration. The origins of UMRA date to the 1940 General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church when rural leaders banded together to work to have their voices heard by the general church. Leaders at the April 21-24 gathering came from Hawaii, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. The mission of UMRA is to advocate for the work of Jesus Christ in rural communities. We believe that God has called and gifted us for the task.
We did have some special appearances as we met at the Conference Center. A family of foxes lives near the chapel on the UMCH grounds and many times during the day we were treated to seeing the young kits and their parents playing in the bushes, running, and being foxes.