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On Monday, October 26, 2009 the Primary Task Team of the Kentucky Annual Conference met at the Holloway Center at the Kavanaugh Life Enrichment Center. The Primary Task Team is a representative body whose purpose is to implement feedback and evaluation for the work of the Annual Conference. The team should work to discern and monitor the the mission and vision of the Kentucky Annual Conference.
The day began with a devotion led by Bishop Davis. Bishop Davis spoke from the book of Ezra about the nature of change and how change will always evoke some sort of emotion. In Ezra chapter 3, as the Temple in Jerusalem is prepared to be rebuilt and the foundation is finished, there arose great shouts of joy from some people, but others familiar with the previous temple and lamenting its loss were loudly weeping. Ezra further recounts "that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people's weeping." Such is the nature of change. With all change some will be rejoicing at the prospect of what is to come and some will be lamenting the passing of the old.
There are some things about the Kentucky Annual Conference that call for change. Bishop Davis pointed out that over 50% of our United Methodist Churches in the Kentucky Conference did not have a single profession of faith in 2008. As Bishop Davis stated, "change is hard but not changing will be tragic." The job of the Primary Task Team is to discern that we are on the right path as the Conference implements changes.
After the devotion the Primary Task Team discussed ways the Kentucky Conference is working in relation to the UMC’s Four Areas of Focus.
Developing Principled Christian Leaders
Tom Smith and Tom Grieb talked about the Isaiah Project, spearheaded by the Board of Ordained Ministry and Ministerial Services. This program seeks to recruit and retain young clergy by offering internships for seminary and undergraduate students and encouraging churches to become “Nurturing Congregations.” They hope to have 12 interns and host churches for 2010. Asbury, Duke, and United Seminaries are offering field education credits to Isaiah Project interns.
Linda Gayheart made a presentation about LACE (Lay Academy of Church Excellence) in the Prestonsburg District. LACE is designed to educate and empower lay people in each United Methodist local church to become faithful disciples and effective leaders. Ms. Gayheart noted that different sized churches have different perspectives on how they approach LACE. For some participants, this is a gateway to becoming clergy.
Engage in Ministries with the Poor
Julie Hager Love shared about ministry taking place in the Red Bird Missionary Conference, which includes the Bennett Center, Henderson Settlement, Red Bird Clinic, and Red Bird Mission. She told about man who was staying in the Superdome in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. After moving to an apartment for the elderly in Red Bird, he began to feel better and has become active again.
New Places for New People and Renewing Existing Congregations
Mike Powers and Becki Curry discussed identifying and resourcing 20% of congregations for vitality and growth. Karen Stigall and Tom Eblen talked about birthing new congregations. One goal is to plant 12 new vital congregations by 2012. We are celebrating the second anniversary of two multi-site congregations: Broadway/Greenwood (Bowling Green) and Lexington First/Andover. Rick Bard and Adam Shourds told the Primary Task Team about Broadway’s success. One exciting result is that most people attending the Greenwood campus come from nearby neighborhoods. People are happy that the church is coming to them.
Bishop Davis makes a point during the Primary Task Meeting
Attendees at the Primary Task Meeting