UNEXPECTED. “Take Away the stone, He said.” (John 11:39 NIV)

Clergy from all five districts of the United Methodist Cal-Pac Conference gathered September 11-13 at the Indian Wells Resort & Spa for the Bishop’s Convocation with the theme “Unexpected.” Under the leadership of Grant Hagiya, the Resident Bishop of the Conference which geographically extends to all of Southern California, Hawaii, and Guam, the convocation provided a space and time for worship, covenant groups, sharing, fellowship and self-care, and included a message from Dr. Frank Rogers.

Monalisa Siofele-Lolohea, M.Div. ’14 and current D.Min. student, said, “The first day was filled with emotion and reflection as several clergy members shared their personal stories of the ‘Unexpected Grace of God’ in their lives and their families. This paved the way for Dr. Frank Rogers to share about how to give and receive compassionate care for one another – for each other, and especially those we serve in our local churches and communities.”

Dr. Frank Rogers, Professor of Spiritual Formation at CST and Co-Director/Founder of the Center for Engaged Compassion, spoke on “The Personal Spirituality of Discipleship.”

He said, “We are soaked within God’s love as fish are immersed in the sea. Jesus had another radical mention of this…he taught that we could know this for ourselves. That we could experience for ourselves this radical sense of compassion and presence.”

Dr. Rogers went on to proclaim the significance of holding one another in the work clergy do and spoke about the human capacity for compassion. He said, “Our spiritual lives are vital. Our hearts beat robustly, to the extent that we stay closely connected.”

Dr. Rogers’ message set the tone for the remainder of the convocation, as groups gathered each day to share and reflect upon the “unexpected moments” of their lives, ministries, struggles, and triumphs. He then went on to share how people can practice radical compassion in their contexts, beginning with taking time to genuinely see the other in our work.

The second and third day of the convocation focused on the Wesleyan Discipleship and ways local churches can work together to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” (the mission of the United Methodist Church).

Under the leadership of Bishop Hagiya, the Cal-Pac Conference focuses on “Four Priorities of Transformation: Transforming Christian Leaders, Transforming Lives, Transforming the World, and Transforming Vital Congregations.” This convocation supported these areas of focus.

For more information on upcoming events and resources of the California-Pacific Conference, check out their website at www.calpacumc.org.