The morning worship began with singing led by Drew McNeill, Ken Southgate, Bill Hughes, Jose Gonzales and Marco Ballesteros. Conference Lay Leader Lew Nicholls then shared his personal account of “encounters with God” when he most needed God’s peace, comfort and strength while facing his daughter’s serious health crisis. In Nicholls’ words, as he wondered what he could share, he heard God answer, “Just tell your story.” He did, and all who heard were blessed.
The Bishop introduced the morning’s work declaring, “The Annual Conference is in the business of building leadership capacity—both clergy and lay.”
“God’s up to something in Kentucky!”
Becki Curry, the Dean of the Cabinet, Assistant to the Bishop and District Superintendent of the Louisville District, beginning the day’s reports. “Can 150,000 United Methodists make a difference in Kentucky?” she asked the Conference, receiving a resounding “YES!” in return.
Rev. Curry reminded that while the work of the congregation is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, the work of the Annual Conference is to discover, develop and deploy leaders. She described several renewed, revised initiatives designed to cultivate leadership and discern God’s leading.
“If you build a church, you may get disciples, but if you build disciples, you will get the Church!”
The stories of the many church planters throughout the Conference, in many settings, were shared by video as their leaders gathered on stage. Paul Brunstetter, Director of New Church Development and District Superintendent, Elizabethtown District and Aaron Mansfield, Chair of the New Church Team, shared the urgency of planting new churches, with 40 new church starts being the goal for this quadrennium. Our UMC connection provides an essential support network for these new churches.
In addition, Rick Bard shared about the work of the Church Health team in supporting and nurturing health in existing congregations.
Eric Bryant, Chair of the Evangelism Team, awarded the Harry Denman Evangelism Award to Iosmar Alvarez (clergy), Mark Ray (laity) and Chloe Mitchell (youth). Iosmar Alvarez also accepted the award for Most Professions of Faith on behalf of his congregation, Fuente de Avivamiento, in Lexington, which claimed 103 professions of faith throughout the last year.
A death every 60 seconds…
Reid Buchanan and Laura McFarland, members of the Missions Team, shared of their encounters with Malaria in Africa and the urgency of our commitment to Imagine No Malaria. One bed net can save the life of an entire family, who often share sleeping space.
“Installed for Eternity”
The Conference celebrated the service of 8 ministers during the Retirement Celebration, with Bishop Gwinn preaching from II Corinthians 3:1-18.
Afternoon of Service
900 United Methodist volunteers registered to serve at one of 47 projects, including a blood drive, landscaping, assembling health kits, a sweet potato drop and many other opportunities to serve throughout the Covington area. To view the Power Point click here.
Rev. Jamie and Lisa Williams were consecrated as missionaries of the UMC during the Mission Celebration. Jamie and Lisa are serving in the Belize/Honduras District of the UMC, supported by the General Board of Global Ministries and the Kentucky Conference.
Bishop Leeland preached, while the UNITY3N1 Mime Team from Coke Memorial in Louisville presented the scripture, Isaiah 61:1-2a through music.
The night’s offering, contributed by congregations throughout the Annual Conference, will benefit Imagine No Malaria, the extraordinary effort of the UMC to prevent and combat Malaria in Africa.