2015 Annual Conference Business Sessions

Filling in ballotTuesday, June 16 - Business

Introduction of Resolutions

Conference Secretary, Cindy Patterson explained the new rule which states that resolutions on subjects which become timely after the deadline has passed for inclusion in the pre-conference workbook may be enacted upon by the annual conference if submitted to the conference secretary by 5 pm on the Sunday of Annual Conference. The resolutions will be distributed in their entirety to the annual conference by the close of the Monday afternoon session.  To be placed on the agenda, a resolution must receive at least a 2/3 vote without debate or question.
Annual Conference Offering

This offering will be shared 1/3 with the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund, 1/3 with Volunteers in Mission International teams and 1/3 with the Youth & Young Adult Networks. 

The amount collected was $12,891.30

United Methodist Foundation & Stewardship

Connie Clark, Stewardship Committee asked the audience, “How many of you think all the church’s problems could be solved if you just had enough money?”  She than shared that mission, not money, should drive the church and that stewardship is mission, and mission is good stewardship. 

The primary goal of the Stewardship Committee is to be a viable resource to clergy, conference leadership and lay members in local churches. That goal will be supported by relevant resources, training for lay and clergy and use of social media.

Brian Sheetz, director of the East Ohio UM Foundation opened his report with a mention of tempered expectations in regard to sports teams in Ohio.  He noted that some churches he has worked with display a defeatist attitude also. People reference how things used to be while refusing to what is necessary to move forward.
Sheetz than challenged churches to stop looking back and look to a new season.

Episcopal Address

Bishop John L. Hopkins opened his address by playing his guitar along with Rich Thewlis. He then stated that Jesus is Calling Us Up to improvise. The early church had to improvise and so do we.  Improvise means to compose, play, and recite; to make, provide or arrange from whatever materials are available.

The bishop than demonstrated with Rich Thewlis, his guitar teacher how difficult the learning process can be.  Examples were, I am out of my comfort zone, I make mistakes, I need to practice, I must listen and work with other and I experience great joy.
The duo than played some blues and he shared that the blues begin at home and have some dissonance.

“People of faith have always seen disturbances as opportunities for God to appear and faith to come as we long for home.”

He spoke of three areas of dissonance of disparity, diversity and discipleship.

The dissonance of disparity is between the love of our neighbors and the resources of those neighbors.

He asked “How can we love our neighbor as ourselves and not see the disparities of economics, education, health care and other resources around us?”

The second tension is the dissonance of diversity between the kingdom of God and our various cultural, economic, generational, sexual and political identities. In spite of the connectivity of the internet and an increase in global relationships, there is also a parallel trend of people wanting to stay with people who “look and think” alike.

The third area that needs resolution is the dissonance of discipleship between Jesus calling us the share the Good News and the decline in new disciples. “I love to hear about a church member organizing a Bible study or support group-on their own, in their home or at work.  The story behind the story always comes from relationships people have in the community.”
The bishop met with young adults, age 18-40 from around the conference last fall.  He asked them two questions: How did you start following Jesus Christ and how are you living and growing as a disciple of Jesus today?  Those gatherings gave him much hope.

Young Christians need a safe place to talk about their spiritual journey and are more interested in actions than words.

In the concluding portion of his address he asked “What do you tell people when they ask you what you do? Do you tell them we work for a global enterprise with outlets in nearly every country of the world?  We’ve got hospitals, hospices and homeless shelters.  We do marriage work.  We’ve got orphanages, feeding programs and educational programs.  We do all sorts of justice and reconciliation things.  Basically. We look after people from birth to death and we deal in the area of behavior alteration.”
“Jesus is calling up up…to serve him in these wonderful and difficult times. He will not leave or forsake us.  Trust Him.”

Black College Fund Intern

United Methodists give to the Black College to support this important ministry of education, leadership, and spiritual development. UM-related Black colleges and universities offer a chance to everyone with a dream and a commitment to excel – regardless of race, class, gender, or ethnic heritage.

Armando Arellano, Religion & Race, introduced the Lina H. McCord intern from Nevada, Johnny B. Scott.  Scott is a music education major from Huston-Tillotson University.

The Black College Fund Lina H. McCord Summer Intern Program follows a model of communication and interaction prominent in the Methodist tradition. The itineration enables and enhances understanding between and among groups.

Two Seminary Presentation

Jay Rundell from Methodist Theological School of Ohio and Wendy Deichmann, United Theological Seminary brought greetings and thanked the conference for the generous financial support for students through the Ministerial Education Fund.

Resolution 2015-01   
On Jail and Prison Ministry

This resolution would encourage churches to remember the spiritual needs of prisoners and their families and seeks ways to become involved in the re-entry process. Motion adopted

Submitted by: EOC Prison Ministry Investigative Team, William Watts, chairperson

Resolution 2015-02  
Commending Ohio General Assembly for Anti-poverty Work

The resolution would commend the Ohio General Assembly for their renewed commitment to addressing the cycle of poverty and encourages churches, partner agencies and leadership to continue to advocate for this cause and that copies of the resolution be sent to the legislators. Motion adopted

Submitted by Chaplain Jared Gadomski Littleton

Board of Ordained Ministry

Nancy Hull, chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry greeted the conference and shared information about the work the board does.

Persons are called to ordained ministry from a local church; a church that teaches, and forms and prays; and mentors persons for ministry.

Gordon Myers introduced persons recommended for provisional membership as full elders. They are: Mollie Brown, Theodore Buehl, James Gaston Jr., Erin Porter, Joan Purnell, Jeremy Roseberry, Sheryl Seitz, Tina Siroki, Ruth Trigg, Heidi Welch, Quincy Wheeler and Laura White.

Irene Beville introduced persons elected for full conference membership as deacons.  They are: Carrie Antczak and Dawn Livingston.

Gordon Myers introduced persons recommended for full membership as elders.  They are: Byron Bufkin, Andrew Call, Dianne Covault, Robin Dillon, Tina Gallaher, Jared Littleton, Lisa Morrison, Brian Oglesbee, Mary Owen, Hannah Tucker and Kathryn Wilterdink.

Jane Fleisher announced the scholarship winners for 2014.  The funds come from the James S. and Ruth Thomas Scholarship; the Keifer Memorial Seminary Scholarship; the Deming/Stout Theological Education Fund and the Cromwell Memorial Scholarship. The recipients are Jeffery Harrison and Joseph Svancara.

Bob Stull introduced persons who have completed licensing school.

Jared Williams and Abby Auman shared information about the changes in the candidacy process.  The conference website contains the information under the Pathways to Ministry tab.  There is also a new national site for tracking the candidacy process at UMCARES!  Candidacy retreats will be held in conjunction with the West Ohio Conference.

Staff Recognition

Steve Court presented Gloria Brown a Bible, and thanked Brown for her service to the conference. She retired in 2014 as the director of Racial/Ethnic Ministries.

Bishop Hopkins thanked Judy Wismar Claycomb for her service as the Firelands District Superintendent.  Claycomb has been appointed to Church of the Saviour, North Coast District.  Doug Lewis was introduced as the new district superintendent of Firelands District.

Fixing of Appointments  

Jim Winkler, Ohio Valley District, highlighted the covenant that the district superintendents follow which includes a personal commitment to live as a witness to Jesus Christ, provide strategic leadership, to hold each other accountable and to live according to the vows of ordination.

Dan Bryant, Mahoning Valley District, shared an example of the apostolic letter that is sent to each pastor receiving a new appointment, summarizing the local mission field for each church/charge.

Winkler explained a new evaluation tool which is designed to be formative, conversational, missonal and disciplinary.

Bryant spoke about compass groups which are part of the conference vision to increase the number of vital congregations organized around size or geography.  Compass leaders are trained in coaching conversations to help groups have healthy conversation and develop action steps.

Prayers were offered for transitions for both lay and clergy.

The appointments of ordained and licensed clergy to local churches and extension ministry was than fixed for the conference year beginning July 1.

For the latest election results.