At the opening of business on the afternoon of Thursday, May 17, sitting at the table are Bishop Peggy Johnson, Rev. Tracy Bass, conference secretary, and lay person, Jordan Harris.
Bishop Peggy Johnson called the The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church to order at 4:20 p.m., May 17, 2012
Conference secretary, Rev. Tracy Bass, moved for the adoption of the agenda, which was approved unanimously.
Rules of Order were brought for adoption. Carol Black, Equalizing Delegate, made a motion to amend Rules of Order Article 13 to allow Board of Ordained Ministry members to serve three quadrennia. A vote was taken with 355 in favor; 198 against suspending the rules to discuss this amendment. The Rules of Order will be brought back on Friday for vote.
Ruth Daugherty introduced the new Local Cokesbury Sales Representative Steven Toombs, who shared new resources from Cokesbury.
Chris Franklin from Stop Hunger Now spoke about their vision of “a world without hunger,” packaging over 35,000 meals over the course of Annual Conference.
Greetings were brought from Rev. Gary Harke of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches. He reminded us that regardless of how we worship, what elements we use, how and where we sit and stand, who we ordain, how we order ourselves, or how we look, we are still one in Christ simply “because God made us one in Christ.. there is one body and one Spirit .. one Lord, one faith … one God above and through and in all.” He added, “Standing, kneeling, or hands upraised, we are still one in Christ.”
Rev. Jim Todd and Dr. Mary White presented a report on General Conference, and then presented the delegation’s recommended Episcopal nominee, the Rev. Dr. Christopher Jacob Kurien. The conference voted, with a two-thirds vote required for approval.
Steve Drachler, of United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania, reminded the Body of the Biblical mandate to do justice and to take care of the poor. UM Advocacy is actively trying to convince the legislature and governor to not balance the budget on the backs of the poor, specifically citing an effort to defeat an attempt to bring “Pay Day Loans” to PA. He asked the Body how many people regularly contact their government representatives, and many hands were raised. Mr. Drachler exclaimed, “That makes my day!”
Mr. Lester Calhoun was recognized for his service of 44 years as an equalizing Lay Delegate with a round of applause.
Rev. Tracy Bass, conference secretary, reported that $10, 673 was collected in the offering at Opening Worship for Imagine No Malaria and for scholarships for undergraduate students.
The Conference Council on Youth Ministries’ is holding a competitive “Penny War” among the Districts to raise funds for the Youth Service Fund.
The 2012 Nominations Committee Report was presented by Ms. Carol Black, and additions and deletions were noted by the Body. There was confusion regarding the issue of whether the report should contain just new people, or already elected and new people. A revised list will be produced and presented tomorrow. Then 24 hours must pass before it is voted on, so it will be voted upon on Saturday, May 18.
The ballot for the episcopal candidate results are: 669 votes were cast; invalid ballots: 4; 534 votes for Rev. Dr. Kurien. He is approved as episcopal candidate of The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
Dr. Mary White and Rev. Jim Todd reported on General Conference. Dr. White: “You felt the Holy Spirit at the Convention Center.” The budget was reduced 6%. The number of petitions will be lower in future General Conferences, as petitions must now be submitted by a church or church council or larger body.
Rev. Todd said: “It was an awe- and wonder-filled experience.” Over 100 countries represented, but he encountered a woman from Sierra Leone who had cared for members of Ephrata: First while they were there several months ago. Rev. Todd reported that guaranteed appointment for clergy was ended as a part of a Consent Calendar vote, and he wanted to reassure those who are worried about this that 2012’s appointments will not be reconsidered. Judicial Council meets this fall and will review the constitutionality of it. He reported that the last act of General Conference was to recognize Ruth Daugherty on her 11th General Conference as an elected delegate. The Body recognized Ruth and also Jordan Harris, who was the youngest delegate since 1996.
The floor was opened for other episcopal nominations. Dr. White explained that three bishops will be elected at the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference in July.
Rev. Jeff Rafauff was nominated by Rev. Doug Smith. Rev. Rafauff accepted.
Lawrence Less announced that BMCR is endorsing Rev. Tracy Bass; Rev. Bass accepted.
Rev. Alfred Day nominated Dr. Irving Cotto; Rev. Cotto accepted.
Balloting was slated for Friday, May 18.
A report from the General Board of Global Ministries celebrated that 71% of conference churches have supported missionaries and the Advance. Rev. David Davis introduced Revs. Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi and Kabaka Ndala Alphonsine.
Bishop Peggy Johnson introduced three persons who were commissioned missionaries at the General Board of Global Ministries service during General Conference: Lilian Cotto, Sharon Hatchman, and Barbara Skarbowski. “We had our buttons popping with pride to have three commissioned at the GBGM service,” she said. “No other conference had three missionaries commissioned at the service.”
Resolution 2012-12 Resolution regarding Anti-Racism Work in The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church: Approved
Resolution 2012-01 Relating to Amendment of the By-laws of United Methodist Metro Ministries, Inc. Mr. Bill Thompson offered a substitute resolution, which was approved by vote. Lenora Thompson presented a two-part amendment to the approved substitute resolution 1) that makers of original resolution should be included in the decision making body, and 2) that the report should be brought back at the November Fall Session of Annual Conference: amendment approved. The substitute resolution will be printed and then brought back for vote.
REPORT OF BUSINESS By Chris McLaughlin and Suzy Keenan