CORRECTION: Please note that the approved budget represents a decrease over the current year of 0.2%
Wrap Up: Day 3
Thursday , June 13, 2013
As the third and final day of 2013 Annual Conference wrapped up, United Methodists across North Georgia made clear their commitment to global outreach and affection for the city of Athens.
While the assembly dealt with various budgetary and administrative issues on Day 3, it also heard numerous reports from conference offices and agencies about the life-changing work that has taken place in the past year. Under the theme Bridges to Mission, the 2013 Annual Conference celebrated its growing commitment and connections to nations around the world as well as to local outreach efforts. Action Ministries (pictured) draped the entire gathering with glow sticks as a reminder of the importance of letting our light shine to give help and hope.
During the three days of conference – in addition to the various special meals and gatherings -- 67 units of blood were collected by the Red Cross and 518 cleaning buckets were assembled and an offering of more than $100,000 was collected for Bridges to Mission partnerships.
And before Bishop Mike Watson finished with the traditional setting of appointments and final sending forthThursday afternoon, Members of the North Georgia Annual Conference agreed to extend their relationship with the Classic Center and the city of Athens by returning through 2017.
Day 3 at a Glance
After the call to order by Bishop Mike Watson, Dale Smith, lay leader of the Atlanta-Emory District, led the attendees in a time of devotion. The Leadership UMC choir led our time of song and praise.
The first order of business was conducted by Conference Chancellor, Tom Cook. The final session Wednesdaywas a closed session to receive the report of the Declaratory Committee. The report was accepted.
New Church Development
Rev. Jaime Jenkins began the report of the Office of New Church Development by announcing Rev. Phil Schroeder will be taking over the duties of the office. New church plants were featured in a video. A fund raising task force for new church development is in the process of being formed. A partnership with the General Board of Global Ministries will bring a pastor from Brazil to work with a Luso-American congregation in the ADOX District. There are also plans to reexamine funding and launch a parent/child church plant every two years.
Board of Laity
The Conference Board of Laity reported on three laity-led programs: Lay Revitalization Ministry, Leadership UMC, and Lay Servant Ministry.
The Office of Connectional Ministries is the resource arm of the Conference. The focus is the training of leaders. Get information on workshops and faculty atwww.ngumc.org/cafe. You can find information on Vital Congregations at www.umvitalcongregations.org. Phil Schroeder (pictured) introduced a speaker about the powerful START (Strategic Appointment Roundtable) experience.
"We are strong because we are connected," said Rev. Mike Selleck during the report. The next big push from this office will be children, youth, camps, and campus.
Personnel Policy and Practice
The Committee on Personnel Policy and Practices had one recommendation defeated, which called for an increase in the base salary for District Superintendents by 4.29 percent. The recommendation to raise other staff salaries by 3 percent and no change in the housing allowance was approved. The District Superintendent’s salary will remain the same as in 2013.
Changes were made in the way churches who received equitable compensation will be reported. Churches will have 18 months to pay benefits in full or their base salary must be reduced to minimum compensation.
Conference Finance and Administration
After a motion was defeated, the budget submitted by the Conference Committee on Finance and Administration was passed. The budget showed a 0.2 percent decrease.
Also this session:
Inspiring video reports were received from the Commission on Higher Education and the North Georgia Housing and Homeless Council.
The United Methodist Connectional Credit Union unveiled their new logo and new name as they continue to serve more United Methodist Conferences.
Action Ministries reported three areas of opportunities for volunteering: Smart Lunch, Smart Kid, organize food drives, or serve as a church station.
World Methodist Evangelism invited all to join them in the sharing the Good News with the world as a Bridges connection.
Session Seven – 2 p.m.
United Methodist Women
Sue Raymond, president of the conference UMW shared some of the programs. They pray for others, and focus on modern day issues. They are trained to be a resource for others. They stand for missions and work at Murphy Harpst, feed women and work with children. They surround the conference with prayers and service. United Methodist Women are faith, hope and love in action.
Denman Evangelism Award
The Denman Awards were introduced by Carol Snype Crawford, head of the Worship Team. The award is named for Harry Denman, renowned lay person. The award recognizes one Youth, Clergy and Lay in the Conference. TheYouth Award went to Luke Reeve, a sophomore at Georgia Tech and member at Trinity on the Hill UMC in Augusta. He is currently serving on a mission project in Tenn. Next, the Laity award went to Lynn Bryant, a member at Athens First UMC. She started an International student ministry.
The Clergy recipient was Dr. Rev. Richard Hunter from Sugar Hill UMC.
United Methodist Men
President Cary Loesing talked about the life of previous president Bud Sears who passed away this year and thanked the group for the buckets put together in his honor the day before. He recognized members of the UMM and the work they do to help the church have a thriving membership. Men who come to church have stronger relationships with their wives and families. The UMM distribute Bibles, are launching a second revival project to help missionaries, help with meal packaging, train youth on how to plant a garden and are making it is easier for churches to communicate with the conference. “Inside out for the glory of God” is the theme for their conference at Rock Eagle this year.
Collinswood is our universally accessible retreat center and includes features such as a wheel-chair accessible nature trail. This year Collinswood welcomed Wounded Warriors, held a No Limits Outdoor Challenge, and the annual Collinswood Fun Day.
Camp and Retreat Ministries
Director Russell Davis presented and shared a video from camp about ELI (Experiential Leadership Institute), Glisson Camp and Retreat Center and GROW Day Camp. The Glisson board was presented. Russell asked for the conference to support their growth for a new dining hall and construction will start this fall.
UM Children's Home
CEO Bob Bruder-Mattson presented on behalf of the United Methodist Children’s Home. Children and families from the UM Children’s Home filled the stage. The Children's Home brings meaningful change to the lives of children and families and last year served over 2,000 children throughout Georgia. Jessie’s house is an after school program and they have adoption programs. There were 33,332 cases of reported child abuse in 2011. It continues to grow each year and parents represent 80 percent of all cases of abuse. Serving vulnerable children is the crucial work of the Children's Home.
United Methodist Foundation
UM Foundation helps churches and gives scholarships for student. The Foundation makes loans to UMC churches, participates in capital campaigns, and offers college scholarships. Rev. Joe Peabody encouraged churches to look at the UM Foundation to refinance their loans saying that they are Partners in Ministry.
Murphy-Harpst Children's Home
Murphy Harpst provides healing for abused and neglected children. They shared a video which told stories of abused, abandoned and homeless children. Murphy Harpst serves 300 children each year and helps them change their path.
Bishop Watson took a moment to say what an important ministry and service Murphy Harpst and the UM Children's Home provide and encouraged all North Georgia United Methodists to go and learn more about the work of these two organizations.
Also this session:
The conference approved returning to the Classic Center in 2016 and 2017. The body had previously approved returning in 2014 and 2015.
Moving Day was set for June 20, 2013.
Four Constitutional amendments were voted on. The results of this vote will be reported after voting is complete across the denomination.
Two churches were closed: Yorkville - Tri-County Circuit, Rome-Carrollton District and Zion - Gainesville District. The ministry of each of these churches was honored with a closing liturgy.
Announcement of Mergers
AROS - Johns Creek and Mt Zion merge to become Johns Creek UMC
AROS - Midway and Shiloh merge to become Midway UMC
ROCA - Chapel Hill and St. Luke merge to become Chapel Hill UMC
ACPK - Mt Zion and Mary Branan merge to become Mt Zion
The Annual Conference passed resolutions:
On increasing young adult participation by asking each district to nominate at least five (5) adults between the ages of 18-35 years of age as at-large delegates
To consider amending the days of annual conference to include a weekend to pave way for more young adult participation
To amend the guidelines for hosting Annual Conference to include a recommendation that the hotels making up the 2,500 bed requirement be signatories to The Code (a policy against the sexual exploitation of children).
In support of comprehensive immigration reform
On working together to end bullying
Bishop Watson set the appointments before sending forth and adjourning the conference. The appointment list will be available online next week.