I'm in Fort Worth, Texas for a financial forum regarding the future of the UMC. Representatives from every annual conference are gathered to learn and discuss the pension and health insurance picture. I ate breakfast with 2 laypersons from the West, both representing their conference pensions. One fellow, from Oregon, spoke of his small church trying to support a full time minister. The theme were the same I've heard in New England, declining attendance, little youth participation, frustration and concern for the future.
I'll try to pass on updates and reflections as I listen and learn. I believe this is a part of a larger attempt to build understanding and consensus in preparation for General Conference next year.