2015 Annual Conference Business Sessions

Filling in ballotThursday, June 18 - Business

Volunteers in Missions

Tina Siroki reported that 40 new team leaders were trained, along with training opportunities for early response, chain saw safety, spiritual care and connecting neighbors.  A team leader training is scheduled for November 18 at the Nehemiah Mission.

63 scholarships, representing fourteen churches who traveled to eleven mission sites.

Mission trips included: Cambodia, the Philippines, Haiti, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Cuba, and many mission sites in the United States.

Siroki mentioned many mission resources including TeachUM, RXConnection and Mission Discovery.

Mission Awareness

Linda Sommerville thanked the committee for promoting The Advance across the conference. The committee receives applications from mission sites across the conference to distribute undesignated giving. They also select global projects for special emphasis.

Sommerville then asked the conference to support the General Advance Projects selected for July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

Board of Trustees

Jerry Rinehart explained that the trustees oversee conference owned properties of the Area Center facility; Camps Aldersgate, Wanake and Asbury, ten district parsonages and properties of closed churches that transfer to the conference.
This board also administer the Camping and Retreat Endowment Fund known as CARE.  The value of these funds as of April 15, 2015 is $2,744.135.  There has been a 9.8% increase in value in the past year.

There is a loan with a current value of $120,900.05 on the Aldersgate Camp director’s house.  Terms of the loan are: fifteen years at 2% interest with an annual payment of $13,165 paid from CARE.

District parsonages have been inspected and are in good shape. The board authorized the sale of the Firelands District parsonage as it was not adequate for all types of family needs by a potential district superintendent.  A home was purchased in Norwalk to serve as the district parsonage.

The board closed on the sale of the Holy Trinity church building in the Canal District.

Benita Rollins offered scripture in preparation of the reading the names of the churches in East Ohio that are being discontinued this conference year.

Sondra Snode read the church names which are:

  • Trinity UMC, Byesville, Southern Hills District
  • Sandusky Salem UMC, Firelands District
  • Everals UMC, Newcomerstown, Three Rivers District
  • Lancaster Chapel UMC, Ohio Valley District

Prayers of thanks were offered for the teaching, preaching, worship, service and giving that came from these churches, and whose spirit now lives into the future in new ministries.

Episcopal Candidate

Cindy Patterson explained the process which is that each conference member is given the opportunity to write the name of one ordained elder in full connection to be considered for the episcopacy.  The names of those who receive 10 or more votes will be read and given to the jurisdictional delegation for consideration. The delegation may also decide not to recommend a nominee for the episcopacy.

Church & Society

Nathan Howe explained that the committee administers the Peace with Justice Program, providing seed money for educational and advocacy programs. Funding for the grants comes from Peace with Justice special offerings. 
The Peace with Justice Scholarship is awarded annually to one high school student and one college student. The Teen Total Abstinence Scholarship is awarded annually to a high school student who communicates through a story, essay or poem why “It’s Okay to Be Drug and Alcohol Free.”

Educational opportunities are offered through a bureau of speakers on topics including: Gambling, Immigration Reform, Human Trafficking, Hunger and Poverty and Peace with Justice.

Board of Missions/Disaster Response

Bill Sutherin reported that 29 persons received the UMCOR Basic Care one day training and the leadership received 1 ½ days of training.  To date eight have taken the Psychological First Aid training and the conference Safe Sanctuaries training and have applied to be part of the care team.

Care Teams reach out from the faith community to help disaster survivors connect with spiritual, emotional and basic life resources.  Team members serve as designated listeners that accompany Early Response Teams and/or work with ERT on-site coordinators. They will also work as neighborhood observers, with basic assessments for information and referral.

Midwest Mission Distribution Center

These are the items/dollars collected for the Midwest Mission Distribution Center
Thanks, East Ohio Conference!
Money                                                           $8,937
Health Kits                                                     3,618
Cleaning Buckets                                             717
School Kits/Bags                                               659
Personal Kits/Blankets                                      472
Sewing Machines                                               11
Bikes                                                                    4

Pastoral Care

Sandra Lutz reported that the office of Pastoral Care and Counseling is celebrating 50 years in Ohio.  The office has modeled caring, the importance of healthy role models for congregations and teaching our brothers and sisters that making help available is a good gift from God.

Lutz mentioned that the Director of Pastoral Care, Howard Humphress, Licensed Social Work Therapist Diane Moreno and the newest staff member, Sally Zimmerman, psychiatric nurse practitioner licensed to prescribe medication are available by appointment for face-to-face, phone or Skype counseling.

The office also adds opportunities to participate in meditation groups, useful bi-weekly resources listed in E-News and special events.

Health & Welfare

Lenore Robinson reminded the conference of the use of the funds contributed by the East Ohio Conference.
Residents of Copeland Oaks, Wesleyan Senior Living and Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices receive funding in need of financial assistance.

Funding is also provided for children and adults at Flatrock Homes, Care Center and Community to help cover the significant gap in funding needed to meet the un-reimbursed medical needs of the residents.

OhioGuidestone receives funds contributed to their 10% unfunded budget, including pastoral care for the over 13,000 families they care for, 90% of whom are at or below the federal poverty level.

Robinson than shared the results of the 3Cs 5K Run/1 Mile Walk

Contributions at the run: Cash: $2,378.00  Checks:  $4034.00   Prior donations via lock box of $540.00 
for a total of $6,952.00

Commission on Unity and Interreligious Concerns

This committee interprets, advocates and works for the unity of the church, and to encourage dialogue and cooperation with persons of other living faiths, according to Karen Graham.

The committee awards the Van Bogard Dunn Ecumenical Award each year.  The 2015 recipient is Katherine Woods, Wellington First UMC.

The committee is exploring ways to be more visible and effective. 

Graham urged the gathering to take part in a local ecumenical association or ministry.  Build relationships with other pastors and churches. 

Religion & Race

Armando Arellano greeted the conference and presented the CORR-ageous honorees.  These persons promote equal racial integration and ethnic minority inclusiveness.

Chet Harris, Dueber UMC, Tuscarawas District.  Dueber has a multi-generational, racially inclusive, gender balanced, and cultural diverse staff.  They host a Hispanic church reaching more than 70 on Sundays.  The church advocates for immigrants when needed before the court system.

Mary Hill, Centenary UMC, Youngstown, Mahoning Valley District.  Hill serves in many different capacities in the local church, district and conference levels. 

The committee has awarded $26,000 to ten students preparing to be future leaders in society and the church.
Several events have been sponsored by the committee including “How Do We Speak? How Do We Find Our Voice?” and Black Theologian Day.

Arellano concluded by stating, “Church, all lives matter to Christ! In the kingdom of God all skin colors matter.”

3Cs Offering

The Thursday offering for 3Cs was a total of $32,334.

Youth Service Fund

The Youth Service Fund collection was a total of $883.00.

Annual Conference 2015 Attendance

Total registered attendance was 1,481 delegates
Laity – 780           Clergy – 701

Resolution 2015-04  
A Declaration of Church Buildings as Weapon-Free Zone

This resolution asks that local churches be encouraged to make every attempt to declare its building as a weapon-free zone, including displaying such declaration at each entrance of its building. Resolution adopted.

Submitted by the EOC Church and Society Committee, Rev. Nathan Howe, chairperson

Resolution 2015-5

A Call to The United Methodist Church to Oppose Legalized Marijuana in Ohio asks that every member of The United Methodist Church of the East Ohio Conference oppose any effort and legislation that would legalize the use of marijuana for recreational reasons in the State of Ohio.  Submitted by Bucyrus United Methodist Church Missions and Outreach Committee.  The resolution was adopted.

Submitted by Bucyrus UMC, Missions and Outreach Committee.

General Conference Petition 2016-03  
Clergy Supervisory File and Connectional Integrity

This petition asks that clergy have the right to review their Supervisory File annually, so that clergy will have total knowledge of its contents. Clergy shall have the right to include written challenges to the file’s contents and address issues requiring professional growth. Petition supported

Submitted by: Rev. Chester H. Harris

General Conference Petition 2016-04 
Regarding Use of Language

This petition asks that the Book of Discipline, ¶161F be amended because the current position of the UMC is in direct opposition to a basic Wesleyan tenet that we are to “Do no harm” because individuals, families, and the church have been hurt continuously by the current stance of the UMC. Petition not supported.

Submitted by the East Ohio Reconciling Ministries Network and East Ohio Methodist Federation for Social Action, Bill Watts, chair.

General Conference Petition 2016-05
Regarding Standards and Conduct for Ordained Clergy

This petition calls for amending Book of Discipline ¶304.310 presents a barrier to keeping qualified clergy of all sexual orientations and gender identities from serving our church. In times of need for a rebirth of The United Methodist Church, we are forcing these very talented and gifted individuals to other denominations. Individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities are fully competent to carry out the duties of ordained clergy in the UMC. Petition not supported.

Submitted by the East Ohio Reconciling Ministries Network and East Ohio Methodist Federation for Social Action, Bill Watts, chair

General Conference Petition 2016-6
Equalization of the Annual Conference Membership

This petition asks that the formula for be changed to represent the true numbers that are present for conference, ensuring a more balanced and therefore “equalized” annual conference. Petition supported.

Petition submitted by Charles Yoost, Church of the Saviour.