Annual conference takes Micah Corps intern by surprise

Micah Corps


This week's Micah Corps update comes from Joseph Kasongo, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a student at Southwestern College, majoring in computer science and digital arts with a minor in Discipleship Bible Study. The photo shows Micah Corps members at the Black Methodists for Church Renewal dinner during the conference.

The 2023 Great Plains Annual Conference in La Vista, Nebraska, was an amazing experience that exceeded my expectations. As I walked into the conference venue, I could not help but wait to experience all four days of conference with a slight anticipation of quarrels of some sort as per rumors. Little did I know that this gathering would be unlike any other I had heard of before.

In the past, as stories would have it, annual conferences had been marked by disagreements and conflicts, but this year was different. The atmosphere was incredibly peaceful, even when there were opposing opinions. It was a pleasant surprise to witness how well everyone respected and listened to one another. There was such an air of unity and cooperation surrounding the entire conference.

I was amazed by the level of organization and structure within The United Methodist Church, realizing that we were part of something remarkable. The platform for churches showcasing their activities and initiatives was truly informative to me. Each presentation/report served as a source of inspiration and a way to learn from different participants. 

One of the highlights of the conference was the opportunity to serve in the opening worship with Bishop David Wilson. As a member of the Micah Corps, I thought it was going to be a stressful and challenging experience given that I had to speak in front of a big crowd. But it turned out to probably be the most composed I had ever been and a souvenir that I am keeping with me. It was an honor to be involved in such a significant moment and to contribute to the proceeding of the annual conference.

However, not everything was over the moon. There were still some churches wanting more time to think through disaffiliation and some other squabbles sounded here and there as I expected. During the discussions on disaffiliation, it was made clear that extensions would no longer be granted. It was time for the church to move forward. What surprised me the most was the United Methodist Church's peaceful way of letting disaffiliating churches go.

In conclusion, the 2023 Great Plains Annual Conference was an informative experience. It provided a platform for peaceful dialogue, surprising me with its cordial atmosphere. It is funny that I went to the annual conference full of rumors and one-sided expectations but got out with a whole different perspective and rumors of my own. It was indeed an inspiring and instructive experience in which I am grateful to have witnessed and participated.