2022 Austria Provisional Annual Conference

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The 93rd session of the Austria Provisional Annual Conference took place in Salzburg May 26-29.

Under the leadership of Bishop Patrick Streiff and District Superintendent Stefan Schröckenfuchs, nearly 30 pastors, lay people and guests met to reflect on the final point of a thematic triad (2019: "What to teach?"; 2021: "How to teach?"; 2022: "What to do?"). In addition, the members and guests of the annual conference — together with guests from the ecumenical community — were able to celebrate the opening of the new church rooms of Salzburg United Methodist Church, located in a diaconal center. 

The extensive superintendent's report was the basis for numerous conversations in different forms and accompanied the members and guests of the annual conference throughout the meeting. In the sense of a summary, a leitmotif was adopted for the future shaping of church work in The United Methodist Church in Austria: "We celebrate the love of God, through this we give courage, we promote development and we make a difference!"

Three thematic areas were assessed as particularly important and urgent in view of the future: sustainability and ecology; mission and visibility; and children and youth. They will accompany the church on its way into the future, and the area of "mission and visibility" in particular will be the content of the next two sessions of the annual conference. 

Questions under that theme include: 

• How can grace — the healing love of God — be made available to those who need it;
• To those who do not attend church services (anymore) because the "church" does not give them hope, confidence or sufficiently sustainable answers to their questions (anymore)? 
• To those who do not go in search of a Christian community because they place their hopes elsewhere? 
• And what does it take for children and young people in particular to have a renewed desire to celebrate God's love together?

Another topic of discussion during the conference was inclusion and diversity and how much the interaction with each other is characterized by openness, mutual respect and the will to listen seriously.

Frank Moritz-Jauk (Graz) was admitted as a pastor on probation until his ordination, and Dorothee Büürma (Salzburg) was ordained in full connection.

The next meeting of the annual conference will be held from May 18-21, 2023, in Linz.

— Ute Frühwirth, Graz / Urs Schweizer, assistant to Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich

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