2015 Annual Conference Wednesday Wrap-up

June 10, 2015

Effective Worship and Preaching
Rev. Jorge Acevedo, in his third session on stewardship, focused on the importance of becoming debt-free. His teaching has been very well received by those in attendance, both clergy and laity.

Worshipful Work
Voting continued, with laity electing a full slate of delegates and alternates for general and jurisdictional conferences.  Lew Nicholls, Linda Underwood King, Jan Brown-Thompson, Brenda Glover, John Denham were elected to General Conference.  Michael Watts, John Crissman, Ed Shytle, Josiah Brock and Paul Whalen were elected to the delegation to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.   In addition, Tim Roach, Cierra Patterson and Mary Watley Suntken were chosen as lay alternates to the Southeast Jurisdictional Conference. The clergy elected Bill Arnold, Tom Grieb, Maxie Dunham, Iosmar Alvarez and Jean Hawxhurst as delegates to General Conference. Julie Hager Love and David Grout were elected as jurisdictional clergy delegates.  Voting will continue on Thursday morning, in order to complete the clergy’s slate.

The late David Sparks was remembered for his ministry to youth and young adults through a video memorial. Jean Hawxhurst was given the Bishop’s Award for Ecumenism. The Denman Award for lifelong commitment to evangelism, for clergy, went to the Rev. Ben Hahn. Jan Stumbo was the recipient of the Denman laity award. Randy Coy, the chair of the Board of Pensions, recognized those clergy who have served in the conference for 25 and 50 years. The Preacher’s Aid Society made a $1,750 donation to the Clergy Crisis Fund in memory of Rev. Billy Glover, a longtime supporter of the Society. Randy Coy discussed the new healthcare plan for conference retirees and reviewed the current conference healthcare plan, including the upcoming tax regulation which will take effect in 2018.
Retirement Service
Fourteen retirees were recognized at this year’s retirement service, with the Russellville UMC Bell Choir providing special music. We thank all of our retirees for their many years of service
Afternoon Session
Ken Sloane, the director of stewardship for Discipleship Ministries gave a talk on healthy stewardship. The Morriseys discussed their ministry in Thailand and our 2016 mission offering. Jamie Brunk gave a moving testimonial about the resurrection of the church in West Liberty, Kentucky, following its destruction by tornado. Don Craig spoke about camping ministries and “why camp matters.” Over $2,000 was donated to the Honduras mission trip by the conference attendees as a “bribe” to get Bishop Davis to wear a creatively-decorated cowboy hat!
Missions Celebration
The Missions Celebration featured the St. James UMC African Choir, and the mission offering went to the Thailand Mission as well as the Ebola missions. Rev. Denise Honeycutt, Deputy General Secretary of UMCOR gave the sermon on “Celebrate Your Call to Mission.” Rev. Honeycutt gave an inspiring and engaging sermon, and stated that, “Mission is not a project of the church; Mission is the very purpose of the church. Church, maybe it’s time for us to turn around and look out the window.” Dozens came forward to the Bishop’s call to mission and ministry, and prayer in support of those in mission.