Called by Christ, Sent to Heal

July 02, 2012

The 2012 Kentucky Annual Conference

Service of Ordination & Commissioning

United Methodist laity and clergy from around Kentucky met in Covington June 11-13 for the 2012 Annual Conference. The theme was “Called by Christ, Sent to Heal.”

The first day of Conference began with the Laity Session and Clergy Executive Session. At the Opening Worship service, in a message titled "Sent to Heal,” Bishop Lindsey Davis praised the work that various ministries are doing throughout the connection. The service included a time of remembrance of clergy and clergy spouses who have passed away since our last Conference. Twelve clergy and fifteen spouses were honored, along with the late Bishop Paul Duffey, who was Bishop in the Louisville Episcopal Area from 1980 to 1988.

Monday concluded with the Service of Ordination and Commissioning. Bishop Kammerer preached on the Emmaus story from Luke 24. She spoke of “Finding Jesus in Unexpected Places.”

Eleven provisional members were commissioned: Christy Allen, Jeffrey Bramel, John Choi, Geoffrey Egbers, Anthony Franklin, Shea James, Rebeccia Howard-Loy, Tina Patterson, Jill Ruhl, Kevin Stamps, and Michael Sweeney. Cynthia Bright, Courtney Spear, and Nancy Speas Hill were ordained as Deacons in full connection. Wayne Burt, Michael Coppersmith, Kevin Griffin, John Kalz, Loletuth Kalz, Judith Ransbottom-Stallons, and Craig Tuck were ordained as Elders in full connection. Michael Adkins was recognized as an Associate Member, and David Oliver’s orders from another denomination were recognized.

On Tuesday, local churches and individuals were recognized for their ministry. Churches with the most professions of faith were Hope Springs (Lexington District), Immanuel (Covington District), California (Covington District), Glens Fork (Columbia District), St. John (Louisville District), Worthville Dean Memorial (Frankfort District), and Auxier (Prestonsburg District). The Culture of the Call Award was given to Middletown UMC (Louisville District). The Denman Awards for Evangelism were presented to Rev. Aaron Mansfield (clergy) and Michael Powell (laity).

Tuesday was also the day for the Kentucky Conference’s third annual Afternoon of Service. Over 760 people worked on projects at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center and around the Covington community. The projects included nursing home visitation, passing out water, preparing and serving a meal, landscaping, and prayer walks. Sixty-one pints of blood were donated at a blood drive, and 1237 health kits were completed.

The Mission Celebration featured Rev. Dr. Warren Lathem, president of Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela, preaching on how all Christians are “Sent.” Donations to the Mission Offering that night will be divided between a medical clinic at the Wesleyan Seminary of Venezuela and MIHOW programs at Henderson Settlement and Red Bird Mission. Over $70,000 was collected at the service.

On the final day of the Conference, the Retirement Celebration recognized the following pastors: Donald Barnett, Ronald Berry, A. Wayne Bishop, Dennis Burrows, Mark Fentress, Lanny Garner, Henry Harrison, Charles Hatfield, Kenneth Jett, Garry Jones, Art Leach, J. Robert Morris, Audrey Myers, Larry Nichols, Susan Skaggs, and Raymond Snider.

Later on Wednesday, the budget for 2013 was approved. The budget is $9 million, the same level as the 2012 budget.

Other business of the Conference included a report from the General Conference delegation. The Conference passed six proposals to decrease the Annual Conference’s $53 million unfunded liability for retiree health care. These proposals are a step toward cutting the liability in half. The Board of Pensions’ recommendation to replace the current health plan for actives and retirees under age 65 with a Consumer Directed Health Plan (CDHP) was also approved. The new plan will take effect January 1, 2013.

Two resolutions were passed by the Conference. One on payday lending asks the Kentucky Conference to encourage state and local governments “to restrain exorbitant interest by establishing a cap of thirty-six (36) percent for all small loans and any other protections necessary to protect individuals from lending abuse.”  A resolution on dropping the I-word discourages the use of the word “illegal” to describe people.

The Conference also celebrated an increase of over 1,000 members in 2011, as well as increases in worship and Sunday school attendance. Part of the increase can be attributed to the new churches that have been planted in Kentucky in the last quadrennium. These new churches account for 13% of the Conference’s professions of faith. The Conference plans to start 40 new faith communities over the next four years.

In addition to the offering collected at the Mission Celebration, funds were raised for other causes. At the Ordination Service, $3,508 was collected for the Isaiah Project, an internship program that helps young people explore their call to ministry. The Change for Change collection gathered $1,900 for Children and Poverty grants awarded by the Conference Children’s Ministry Team. In addition, over $11,000 was raised to fund construction of a new kindergarten building in Carnizuelar, Honduras, the location for the Conference Ministry with Young People’s 2011 and 2012 summer mission trips.

Read reports and view photos of each day's events.

Communion during the Opening Worship Service