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Conference makes financial decisions, highlights ministries

May 28, 2021 | John W. Coleman

The 2021 session of the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference, May 20-22, meeting via Zoom webinar for a second time, showed newfound skill in virtual conferencing, deftly mixing live with pre-recorded content, including preaching, teaching, legislating, reports and recognitions.

There were questions but little debate over eight resolutions in total. One approves conference trustees’ clarification of how to distribute required payments received from churches that want to disaffiliate from the denomination and retain their property.

The 2019 Special General Conference (UM Book of Discipline, para. 2553, pages 4-5) determined that churches may disaffiliate for reasons of conscience—prompted by UMC policies toward LGBTQ members’ rights–and retain their property if they meet conditions approved by their annual conferences, including making required, negotiated payments. Typically, church properties are owned by annual conferences but held in trust by their congregations... Read More

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Each year conference members and churches give to special offerings to help fund Eastern PA Annual Conference higher education scholarships, Board of Ordained Ministry scholarships for clergy education, Camps and Retreat Centers, and Youth Ministries. Because our Annual Conference met online and not in-person in 2020 and 2021, those offerings relied on mail-in and online donations. Thus, giving to them has declined significantly.

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