New England Annual Conference

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The New England Annual Conference is an Annual Conference (a regional episcopal area, similar to a diocese) of the United Methodist Church. This conference serves the congregations in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, eastern Connecticut, and all of Vermont. The conference's administrative offices and the office of the bishop are located in Lawrence, Massachusetts. It is part of the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference. The bishop is the Reverend Sudarshana Devadhar (Boston Area).

"HISTORY:"[edit]

(SOURCE- The Wesley Center) Asbury traversed New England each of these years down to the last before that of his death. He always approached it with peculiar feelings; with mingled repugnance and hopefulness. He seemed there as in a foreign land, while all the rest of the nation was his familiar domain. Everywhere else he was welcomed by enthusiastic throngs; there he was repelled, and pursued his solitary journeys comparatively a stranger, finding refuge in families which were proscribed as heretical by public opinion, and in "meetings" which were impeached as fanatical "conventicles." Yet he believed that Methodism would "radiate" over these elder communities. "I feel," he writes, "as if God will work in these states and give us a great harvest; a glorious work of God will be wrought here. Surely we shall rise in New England in the next generation." He lived to see the verification of his prediction. To him the religious life of New England presented an example of the rigid Hebrew legalism, strangely combined with the speculative dogmatism of the early Greek Church but unrelieved by the spiritual mysticism of the latter, and nearly destitute of the vital charity and joyousness primitive faith.

Its distinctive theology he detested; it seemed to him to bind, as in iron bands, the souls of the people; depressing, by its tenets of election and reprobation with uncomplaining but profound distress, scrupulous, timid, and therefore often the best consciences; inflating the confidence and Pharisaism of the self-reliant or self-conceited, who assumed their predestination to heaven; enforcing the morality without the gracious consolation of religion; and giving to the recklessly immoral an apology for their lives in their very demoralization, their lack of "effectual grace," of "an effectual call." Devout Augustinian theologians would not indeed admit his logic; such was nevertheless his honest estimate of the New England Church, and he continually returned to the East, directing the best energies of Methodism against its traditional beliefs and ecclesiastical stagnancy.

There, more than anywhere else, we have to regret the scantiness of his journals, for there, in his hardest field, his reflections as well as his facts would be most interesting to us. He re-entered it in the spring of 1804, and on the fourteenth of July opened the New England Conference at Buxton, Me. The ordination was held in a wood, where the bishop preached from a heavy heart. He describes the occasion as "an open time." "The work of God broke forth," he says, "on the right and on the left." A great sensation spread among the multitude, and before the session closed it was estimated that fifty persons were converted. Snelling says, "There was a greater display of divine power at this Conference than any I ever attended. Many of the people were wrought upon in a very powerful manner; but, as is generally the case, there was some opposition. At one meeting a man, appearing to be in a violent passion, came in, and called for his wife, bidding her leave immediately. She urged him to stay a little longer. 'No,' said he; 'let us go.' He then started to go, but paused a few moments, then turned back, fell upon his knees, and prayed for mercy as earnestly as any. The preachers were placed in different directions in the grove, praying and exhorting. The people would gather around them in companies, similar to what are called praying circles at camp-meetings. In the circle which I was in there were eleven persons who professed to be brought from darkness to light, besides many others who were inquiring what they must do to be saved." [1] "It was," wrote Joshua Taylor, "the greatest time that we have seem in New England."

The New England Annual Conference maintains four campground/retreat centers:

Districts[edit]

The New England Annual Conference is further subdivided into 8 smaller regions, called "districts," which provide further administrative functions for the operation of local churches in cooperation with each other. This structure is vital to Methodism, and is referred to as connectionalism. The districts that comprise the New England Annual Conference are:

District 1 - Northern Maine[edit]

District Superintendent the Rev. Jackie Brannen

District 2 - Mid-Maine[edit]

District Superintendent the Rev. Karen Munson

District 3 - New Hampshire[edit]

District Superintendent the Rev. Gwen Puroshotham, interim

District 4 - Tri-State[edit]

District 5 - Connecticut/Western Mass[edit]

District 6 - Central Massachusetts[edit]

District Superintendent the Rev. Rene A. Perez

District 7 - Metro Boston Hope[edit]

District 8 - Rhode Island/Southeastern Mass[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]