AC Day 4: Bishop Fairley reminds body to ‘plant gardens’ and make disciples of Christ

June 07, 2023

OWENSBORO, Ky. – The 2023 Annual Conference concluded Wednesday, June 7, with the traditional reading of appointments by district superintendents and a reminder from Bishop Leonard Fairley that we must be planters of gardens on behalf of the Kingdom.

“Go, and bloom where you are planted – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now, get out of here,” he said with a smile, dismissing the clergy and laity after the four-day Annual Conference gathering at the Owensboro Convention Center.

“Unless we cast the vision, there is no vision, and the people perish,” Fairley said earlier before calling the superintendents to the microphone to read the appointments – traditionally the last piece of Annual Conference before dismissal.

Fairley also reminded the members of the district supervisory changes coming July 1: the Rev. Dr. John Hatton will oversee the Bluegrass District as well as the Heartland District; the Rev. Shannon Boaz will oversee the Lexington District as well as the Northern Kentucky District; the Rev. Brad Smart will provide coverage for the South East District as well as the Kentucky East District; and the Rev. Dr. Jay Smith will cover the South Central District as well as the Owensboro District.

The Rev. Dr. Tina Patterson, current Bluegrass DS, will become director of African American and Connectional Ministries, and the Rev. Dr. Kimberly Pope-Seiberling started May 1 as New Church Development director. Both Pope-Seiberling and Patterson were introduced earlier in the Annual Conference.

Earlier Wednesday, the Memorial Service was held for clergy and spouses, following last-minute business that included approval of the budget, the nominations report, and an update from the General Conference delegation.

Budget approval
The $4.5 million 2024 budget and conference apportionment rate of 10% were approved overwhelmingly by show of hands. Kim Keller, chair of the Committee on Finance and  Administration (CFA), said the revenue will come from three areas: $3 million from apportionments, $380,000 from partners, and $1.5 million from disaffiliation funds. It will be allocated across three areas: $1 million to the General Church, 1.5 million to ministry areas, 2 million in administrative expenses.

Nominations report
The nominations report, with a few updates and corrections, was displayed on slides, then was approved by a show of hands.

Delegation report
The Rev. Tami Coleman, a member of the General Conference/Jurisdictional delegation, introduced the returning members and provisional members who were voted in this week. Choking up slightly, she likened the process of serving on the delegation to a desire of working in harmony and said it’s been awhile since the church, and the delegation, have been in harmony.

Fairley prayed as the delegation members stood in front of the stage holding hands. He cited John Wesley’s observation that “we might not all think alike, but we can love alike.”

Evangelism resolution
After a lengthy floor discussion, the body approved by show of hands a resolution brought by lay member Sean Deskins to establish a task force to focus on evangelism. It was amended slightly to include retired as well as active clergy.

Part of the debate concerned whether to refer it to the Primary Task Force for further refinement and alignment. That amendment was rejected so that the task force can be established and work begin as soon as possible.

According to the resolution, the task force’s role is “to serve as the Annual Conference’s ‘think tank’ for evangelism and reimagining, renewing, and revitalizing evangelism in Kentucky and to lead, encourage, facilitate, and assist the Annual Conference and its local churches, clergy, and laity in prioritizing evangelism.” The resident bishop is to serve as chair of the task force, which is to meet at least six times between each regular session of Annual Conference.

Mission offering
Fairley said the mission offering collected late Tuesday afternoon stood at more than $23,000 as of Wednesday morning. He reminded people that they can continue to donate even beyond Annual Conference.

2024 Annual Conference
The Rev. Shannon Boaz, superintendent of the Northern Kentucky District, announced that next year’s Annual Conference will be June 10-12, 2024, in Covington. Annual Conference was last held there in 2019, a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted in-person conferences for 2020 and 2021.

Memorial Service
The Rev. Janet Carden, outgoing superintendent of the South Central District, spoke during the Memorial Service. She related that she and her husband have lost five babies and a 20-year-old son, John Matthew, to various tragedies. The Carden family understands the pain of loss.

“Grief seemed to be unbearable,” she said during her message, but all along, God’s presence covered her and her husband, Tim. “God was there.”
Twenty-one clergy who have died in the past year were honored:
  • Freida Alexander, Charles W. Bertrand, Charles Brantley, Julius Earl Carter, Troy O. Douthit, Ormond Kemp Edwards, Kathy Ogletree Goodwin, J.D. Graddy, Phillip Cary Hogg Sr., Finley Isaacs Jr., Peggy Greenfield Johnson, James Michael “Mike” Mansfield, Jerry Lee Mercer, James E. “Jimmy” Powell, Robert C. “Bob” Rice, James “Jimmy” Rose, Terry Michael Vickous, John L. Weber, Walter B. White Jr., Thomas Adams, and Marshall Powell.
Sixteen clergy spouses were honored:
  • Barbara Anderson Head, Eliza Joyce Brown, Mary Jo Rawlings Cain, Velma Marie (Davis) Fox, Alene D. Dicken. Wilma Jean Dunlop, Ethel Mae Ingram King, Lenette Lyle, Margaret Mae McDonald; Zelma Jean Haley Moran, Nancy Taulbert Norman, Goldia G. Parish, JoAnn Holbrook Rose, Jeanette Litsey Westerfield, Annabelle Armstrong, and Tina Honican.

See photo gallery from Day 4

Appointment list