Clergy and lay members of conference met in separate sessions this morning in preparation for the work of Annual Conference. Patty Grout gave a wonderful devotional in the laity session on the bible story of Jabez and allowing God to work in us and through us. The Board of Laity were introduced and the focus of the session was on Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things, which tied into our conference theme.
The Conference organized itself for its work during the afternoon session, establishing the consent calendar (the list of reports unanimously approved), electing tellers, and presenting the first reading of the 2018 Budget with an eleven percent apportionment. 2017 Isaiah Project interns were introduced. Dr. Marcia Hawkins, president of Union College, spoke about partnerships of UM colleges in Kentucky. Chaplain Cpt. Kevin Stamps described his ministry with the soldiers at Fort Bragg, and asked for prayers for all those in the military.
See The Possibilities: Ordinary People Doing the Extraordinary
Annual Conference officially began with Opening Worship, with Bishop Al Gwinn preaching. Bishop Fairley welcomed the congregation with the statement that “There’s no way to have been called by Christ, and to just let that go.” Bishop Gwinn preached, “You are the sons and daughters of God. Let that sink into the crevices of your soul.”
At the Memorial Service we recognized 20 clergy members and 8 spouses who died during the past year. Rev. Paige Williams delivered the sermon, "We Shall Come Rejoicing."
Service of Commissioning & Ordination
Bishop Fairley presided over the Service of Commissioning and Ordination. Bishop Fairley preached on the theme, “Theotokos (D.R.P), which meant Designated Religious Person, or God-Bearer.” Rev. George Love from Hebron Presbyterian Church provided ecumenical representation. The service was full of the symbols of ministry: the towel & basin, the paten & cup, the water of baptism and the cross of Christ who calls people into ordained ministry. Clergy and family members stood in support of those being commissioned and ordained. One person was commissioned as deacon, nine were commissioned as elders, one was ordained as deacon and nine ordained as elder. An offering of over $3,500.00 was collected for the offering to help fund the Isaiah Project ministry.