Dr. Mary White, conference lay leader, at the podium, delivers the Laity Address at Annual Conference 2012, on the morning of May 19. Members of the Board of Lay Ministry accompany her on stage.
May 19, 2012
Bishop Johnson called the Conference to order at 9:00 am
A monitoring Report from the Commission on Religion and Race called the Body to be ”Naturally Inclusive.”
District Superintendents Report
Rev. Jim Todd. Introduced Rev. Dr. Dorothy Watson Tatem, Rev. Dr. Anita Powell, Rev. Bronwyn Yocum, Rev. Thomas Haugh. Rev. Gary Nicholson was unable to be present (he was at his daughter’s graduation).
Nine Church Closings: DSs are devoted to caring and supporting churches, not closing them. However, Resolutions 2012-13 through 2012-20 address the closing of churches. Names of the churches were read; clergy and laity from the churches asked to stand in tribute to the ministry done there. Rev. Thomas Haugh stated how the assets for each church would be allocated.
Resolution 21012-13: Relating to the Discontinuance of Sharon Hill Christian Center, SE — approved
Resolution 2012-14: Relating to the Discontinuance of South Media: Packard Memorial UMC, SE — approved
Resolution 2012-15: Relating to the Discontinuance of Wallingford: Old Union UMC, SE – approved
Resolution 2012-16: Relating to the Discontinuance of Portland UMC,NE — approved
Resolution 2012-17: St. Andrews UMC of Havertown, Central – approved
Resolution 2012-18: Relating to the Discontinuance of Gladwyne UMC, Central — approved
Resolution 2012-19: Relating to the Discontinuance of St. Luke’s Snyder Avenue UMC Charter, Central – approved
Resolution 2012-20: Relating to the Discontinuance of Simpson Memorial UMC, East – Rev. Jim McIntire proposed the following amendment: change : “as they deem appropriate” to “in accordance with the Book of Discipline and Conference policy.” It was seconded from the Body and then approved by Dr. Tatem. The resolution was then approved by the Body with the amendment.
Resolution 2012-09: Relating to the Discontinuance of New Philadelphia, NW – approved
Rev. Haugh offered prayer for all closed churches.
Wescosville: Bethany is the largest church in the Northeastern Jurisdiction.
Largest Anglo Church in Northeastern Jurisdiction is Lancaster: First.
Largest Hispanic Church in Northeastern Jurisdiction is La Iglesia Nuevo Nacimiento.
Various other celebrations were lifted up including the many ministries and ministers of the Eastern PA Conference.
Call to Action and Vital Congregations: The Cabinet is generally in support of the Call to Action goals and the ensuing goal-setting. Rev. Todd explained “generally” because just numbers won’t build churches; people working to glorify God will build up our churches. These goals are everyone’s goals. “Change in our congregations will be required … we must reclaim the United Methodist Church not as an institution but as a movement among God’s people,” said Rev. Todd.
Call to Actio Goals:
For Worship: In 2010, 43,781 was the average attendance; goal for 2015: 56,853 persons in worship.
In 2010, 2,157 joined on profession of faith; goal for 2015: 5,333.
In 2010 there were 4,055 groups of spiritual formation; goal for 2015: 5,508.
In 2010, 3,222 people were involved in Missions; by 2015: goal of 15,204 in Missions.
In 2010, missions giving was just under $9.7 million; goal for 2012: $ 11.6 million given to ministries outside the local church.
In meeting these goals, we are calling people to accountability to their membership vows.
Through a creative and humorous skit on "making a new disciple," Rev. Dr. Irving Cotto was introduced as new district superintendent for the Northeast District, and Rev. Bronwyn Yocum was recognized for her past four years of service on the Cabinet.
Dr. Mary White, Conference Lay Leader, presented the Laity Report, supported by the Presidents of United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women, District Lay Leaders, Director of Christ Servant Ministers, Coordinator of Youth, Director of Wellness, and Dean of Laity Academy. “The work of the laity keeps us focused.”
Tools for Ministry was attended by nearly 1,000 persons among all the districts.
The Laity Retreat was “truly successful.” Over 100 people were in attendance, and the event will again be scheduled for 2013.
Dr. White explained the new Wellness and Healing Ministry led by Kathy Gilligan, RN. Two MDs have also joined, and we have RNs leading in each district.
The School of Christian Missions will held in Hershey, July 27-29, at the Lancaster Bible College. http://www.epaumc.org/events/calendar/school-of-christian-mission-2012
The United Methodist Women became an autonomous group instead of a division of the General Board of Global Ministries due to action of General Conference.
There are now United Methodist Men presidents in all six districts.
Laity Academy – District Superintendents will lead workshops, and youth will lead worship. The Laity Academy will be held at West Lawn UMC August 3-5:
The conference now has almost 1500 Christ Servant Ministers, to which program George Hollich is giving leadership (http://www.gbgm-umc.org/csm/). Last fall more than 60 people attended a Lay Academy held in the NW District, and the event will be repeated again in 2012.
Youth Ministry is led by Denise Harris. Conference youth attended 2011 Youth event at Perdue, which was attended by more than 3,000 youth from across the U.S.
A committee will be formed on Children’s Ministry, and will be led by Janet French from Wayne UMC.
“If we want effective leadership, it is up to you and up to me,” Dr. White said. “We need to ask ourselves the question, ‘What can I do?’ It is up to the laity, working with pastors and district superintendents, to make a difference in the Church.”
Business report: by Chris McLaughlin.