Annual Conference highlights for Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bishop shares what it means to be ‘Poured out in Ministry’

INDIANAPOLIS – Using 2 Timothy 4:1-6, 8 as his text, Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner shared with the conference members, guests and especially those to be ordained or commissioned, his views of what it means to be “poured out in ministry.” Coyner shared these ideas in his sermon during the Ordination, Commissioning Service Saturday morning, May 31.

“We are all going to die, so let’s get that issue out of the way, and then decide how we want to live our lives,” Coyner began. He said, “Paul reminds us that each one of us is an ‘offering’ and a sacrifice poured out to God. Someday we will receive the victor’s crown for completing our faithful lives, but for now it helps to think of ourselves as already dead.”

Coyner said he believes that whether laity or clergy, a call to ministry means we are willing to pour out our life for Christ. He quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. saying, “If you don’t have anything you are willing to die for, then you don’t have any reason to live.”

Coyner asked his audience, “What are the things you are willing to give your life for?” He then listed seven beliefs for which he would live. Highlighted, they included:

  1. Jesus Christ is Lord;
  2. All are welcome at the Lord’s Table – “I am proud of the fact that our United Methodist communion table is open to all who come confessing Christ. No one is excluded,” Coyner said;
  3. Growing in grace is a life-long journey – we have to keep growing into the likeness of Christ;
  4. Every child is a child of God;
  5. Life is about giving, not about receiving;
  6. Our Christian faith is about love, justice, mercy and joy – it is not about stifling religious categories or moralisms; and
  7. My personal integrity (i.e. my word is good) is the best gift I can offer to others.

Following the seven, he gave two examples of people he has seen whoexemplified these truths. One was Ralph Kastedt, a blind preacher in the former North Indiana Conference, who served in ministry to churches in turmoil. What he remembered about Kastedt is that he always said, “Everyone has a handicap. I am fortunate that my handicap is obvious so I have had to deal with it.”

Coyner said, “Ralph knew how to do ministry as a sacrifice poured out for Christ and for others.”

His second example was a laywoman he knew in the Dakotas who late in life discovered her mother was half Native American. That reality led to her call to improve understanding between white folks and the Lakota people.

She and her husband eventually sold their ranch and became directors of the Tree of Life Ministry in Mission in South Dakota where many of our own people have served as Volunteers In Mission. As an example, said Coyner, “She learned, grew and lived with an integrity and desire to serve which was contagious.”

He continued, saying, “Ministry is being a sacrifice, poured out in ministry for others on behalf of Christ.

“Everyone’s ministry is going to be a little different, but everyone’s sacrifice is required. It starts by saying ‘yes’ and making myself be a part of the answer.”

Borrowing from Peter Block’s book, The Answer to How is Yes, he quoted, “It helps to think of ourselves as already dead.”

Coyner said that 100 years from now, no one in this room will still be alive, except maybe for a few children. “We know that we are mortal, as we also know that the Resurrection of Christ is our final answer.”

He then shared how peaceful the death of his father was a few weeks ago. “It was a sacred moment. Not every death is that peaceful, and not everyone dies in a blanket of love. But for those in Christ, we know that death is not the end, it is a part of our life. So… how shall we live?”

Ask yourself, “How shall I live?”

He concluded: “For me, I will live for Christ.”

During the service, one provisional deacon and twelve provisional elders were commissioned. Three candidates from other denominations were recognized as provisional members. Five provisional members were ordained Elders. One missionary was commissioned.

An offering of $2,062 also was received during the service for district superintendents to use when the conference needs to assist a pastor’s family during a financial emergency. The funds are managed by Rejuvenate.

A couple dozen people attending the service also felt God’s call to ministry and went forward following Coyner’s invitation to come forward for prayer and words of guidance. More than 100 people are in the candidacy for ministry process in Indiana.

Ministry is being a sacrifice, poured out in ministry for others on behalf of Christ.

Elders and provisional members approved by clergy

During the Clergy Executive Session, these persons were approved for ordination as Elders or for commissioning as provisional clergy members of the Indiana Conference.

  • Commissioning as Provisional Deacon: Mary Rebekah Ward Dicken
  • Commissioning as Provisional Elder: Andrew Charles Baker, Mark Allan Brock, Lois Kay Cannon, Catherine Ann Clayton, Steven Paul Clouse, Adriane Rene Curtis, Crystal Ann Jacobson, Jared Michael Kendall, Hye Sook Kim, Glenn James Knepp, Christopher Allen Tiedeman and Sharon Lorraine Washington.
  • Recognition of Orders as Provisional Member: Brian Edward Cook, Bryan William Langdoc and Maureen Knudsen Langdoc.
  • Ordination as Elder: James William Clark, Jungbum Kim, Samuel Leon Padgett, Daniel Lee Payton and Donna Lynn Ward.

These individuals were commissioned as provisional members of the Indiana Conference or ordained as Elders during the Ordination and Commission Service.

Andrew Payton

Conference remembers deceased during memorial service

Deceased clergy and deceased clergy spouses who have died since the last annual conference session were remembered Friday evening during a time of prayer, Scripture reading and Holy Communion. Bishop Mike Coyner was the celebrant.

The Rev. Andrew Payton, associate pastor of Methodist Temple United Methodist Church in Evansville and a third-generation clergyperson, preached the sermon at the Service of Remembrance and Holy Communion using a text from 1 John.

Payton is the son of the Rev. Dennis Payton, 60, senior pastor of First UMC in Mooresville, and grandson of the Rev. L.D. Payton, 82, a retired member of the Indiana Conference living in Mooresville. His brother, Daniel Lee Payton was ordained an Elder Saturday morning.

Here are a few thoughts he expressed to the conference:

  • Honoring a great cloud of witnesses, we are here to honor these clergy and families. I get it. I get the sacrifice they have made. I am a PK (preacher’s kid). My brother is going to be ordained tomorrow. I get it in terms of the sacrifices that have brought us to this place.
  • These are the ones who say, don’t talk about me or lift me up. Talk about Jesus. With Jesus there is always more. Life continues. Death is not the end – there is more in terms of life eternal. In 1 John we are called God’s children.
  • We need to invest ourselves in the brokenness of this world. There is more to this life. There is more to the question – if there is more, why so often do we settle for less?
  • The big to-do in the seventh grade was a dance. We arranged our dances with ambassadors who, from the boy’s side, we would send across to the girl’s side to pick our next slow dance partner.
  • Likewise God has sent an ambassador named Jesus and he has a dance to grace. But we have a tendency to leave the dance floor. And when we leave the dance floor, we take others with us. More is people dancing with Jesus. Less is people leaving the dance floor because they don’t like the tune. We find ourselves between the two.
  • Hopefully, we are now becoming more of what Jesus wants us to become. Prayer, Scripture, Holy Communion, but that’s not all. We have to let go of things that do not belong to children of God – anger, despair, bitterness. We must let these things go so we can dance with God.
  • The exciting thing is that we know we are going in the right direction when our passion for religion becomes our compassion for people. We have all known people and we know the spirit of God is within them. The good news is that we can grow into becoming the compassionate people God wants us to be.
  • We are here to honor people who have lived their faith. We are here to remember this great cloud of witnesses to honor and remember that they are fine. That’s my prayer tonight. We honor the faith they upheld. We have a compassion for people and radiate the love of Jesus.

Bishop Mike Coyner also lifted the names of churches whose ministry has been discontinued. They are: Pershing UMC in East District, Patronville UMC in the Southwest District, Fairview UMC in South District, Springfield UMC in East District, Liberty Mills UMC in Northwest District.

Here is a list of those who were remembered during the service.


Judith Adams, Howard Allen, Charles Ballard, James Beckley, Michael Beeman, Hilbert Berger, Robert Bickel, John Boggs, Charles Carroll, Richard Christopher, Ernest Cobbs, Charles Cook, Glen Dale Cottom, Susan Davis, George Dinwiddie, Ronald Dixon, Robert Dungy, Reuben Green, Robert Hansen, Oval Harden, Cletus Hirschy, Ivan Jenkins, John Kavich, Richard Lancaster, Carl Leth, John Calvin Louthain, David Low, James Mayfield, Elvin Miller, Mary Miller, Harold Morrical, James Nickles, Howard Pearson, Kennard Robinson, Jicelyn Thomas, Clyde Trumbauer, Linda VanHorn, Clyde Wake, Charles Jack Walls, L Michael Wilson and Lloyd Wright


Waneda Baker, Berniece Bastain, Michael Beason, Evelyn Bennett, Patricia Burton, Beverly Coahran, Marian Dawson, Marcia Frazier, Jessie Gaus, Shirley Gotts, Dolores Haskins, Betty Hillenburg, Diana Lee Kehlhofer, Christina Kivett, Virginia Kraft, Ellen Louise Landrey, Marion Lutz, Iona Mayfield, Dave Mikesell, Theresa Miller, Idamae Nisley, Ruth Nolting, Doris Pflugh, Letah Simpson, Reba Stapp, Virginia Stirsman, Gladys Strong, Pauline Taggart, Delores Thomas, Brenda Wesler, Carmen Wilks, Amanda “Ruth” Willbanks, Marian Wiseman and Virginia Yates


Conference elects new Indiana Conference Lay Leader

The Annual Conference Session elected Doris Clark of Indianapolis as the new Lay Leader of the Indiana Conference, effective June 1. Clark has served as one of the conference’s Associate Lay Leaders, Central District Lay Leader and also participates as a member of the Bishop’s Operational Team, the Annual Conference Sessions Implementation Team, lay member of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, District Chair of the Central District, member of the Conference Nominating Committee, Board President of United Methodist Metro Ministries and a member of the General Church’s Connectional Table. She was a delegate to the 2012 General and North Central Jurisdictional conferences of The United Methodist Church. She is a member of University United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.

Clark will continue where previous Indiana Conference Co-Lay Leaders Ike Williams of Carmel and Kayc Mykrantz of Logansport have served since the new Indiana Conference was created five years ago.

Upon naming Clark to this position a few months ago, Bishop Mike Coyner said, “I have been blessed to have Ike and Kayc as co-conference lay leaders these past several years, and I now look forward to working with Doris and the rest of the Board of Laity. We are all partners together in ministry, and our common desire is to lead the Indiana Conference to be even more faithful and fruitful in the ministry of Christ.”


Archbishop encourages us to be unified as one

Archbishop Joseph Tobin of the Indianapolis Roman Catholic Archdiocese joined the Indiana Conference during Saturday’s prayer breakfast at the Indiana Convention Center to discuss being unified as one ecumenically.

Before Tobin delivered his remarks, the Rev. Matthew Landry of Winamac reminded attendees that in order to be the outwardly focused church, we must all be one. Breakfast conversations were guided by questions inspired from quotations from Pope Francis.

Tobin commented on how moving to Indianapolis was an easy transition thanks to the “wonderful gift of ‘Hoosier Hospitality.’” Commenting on the Annual Conference’s theme, Tobin said that as believers, we are called to be an outwardly focused church. Our Hoosier Hospitality should extend beyond our church building’s walls.

Quoting Pope Francis, he said, “A church that looks in on itself gets sick. We have to look outward in order to be healthy.”

He continued by saying being an outwardly focused church is not a task that can always be done alone. Tobin believed it was crucial for the community of believers to come together for the greater good.

In regards to relationships between United Methodists and Catholics, Tobin reminded attendees that we “may disagree on other components” of our faith backgrounds, but “we agree on the most important thing of Christianity,” the everlasting life of Jesus Christ promised by the sacrifice on the cross.

Tobin asked for prayer for his conversion so his heart is working towards being more like Jesus’ heart and for our Catholic brothers and sisters so they may not face inward, but focus on Jesus. – Jenn Meadows

Stacey Moore (far right) invited her friends to join her at the Kids
Against Hunger food packing for her “birthday party with a purpose.”

Fighting hunger at Annual Conference

Hoosier United Methodists gathered Saturday afternoon, May 31, to pack meals for Kids Against Hunger, a national not-for-profit hunger agency. Volunteers and staff numbering 160 people were on-hand to supply, measure, funnel, weigh, seal and pack the meals.

Deanne Heidrich, a volunteer with Indianapolis-based Metro Ministries, said it was her third year of organizing the annual conference session mission outreach. She said she wanted to try something different this year in order to boost volunteer engagement.

To go along with the theme of being an outwardly focused church, Heidrich extended the invitation beyond annual conference members. She sent an invitation to the entire Indiana United Methodist community by reaching out to churches across the state.

Heidrich said she was pleased with the response from the community. Half of the volunteers were members and guest of annual conference, and the other half were from congregations across the state. Youth groups and Girl Scout troops were some of the groups in attendance at the event.

One group came together in celebration of a friend’s birthday. “I’m Stacey! I’m 60 and this is a party with a purpose!” said Stacey Moore of Indianapolis. Moore had a milestone birthday coming up, and decided she wanted to do something different to celebrate – something that would make a positive impact. When she heard about the Kids Against Hunger event, she gathered friends and family to pack meals for her birthday celebration.

Steve Buzas from the Danville United Methodist Church decided to volunteer because he wanted to help fight hunger.

With 15 assembly lines, volunteers were able to fight hunger both worldwide and statewide.

During the two hours, volunteers packed 43,200 meals, each created to feed six people by adding water to the dry ingredients in the packet. About 25,000 of those packets will be shipped to Mission Guatemala. United Methodist-related food pantries located in South Bend, Kokomo, Corydon and Indianapolis picked up the remaining meals.

Pastor Rodney Frieden of First UMC in Hagerstown, Ind., said Kids Against Hunger has grown out of work conducted by multiple churches across the state, packing meals to combat hunger.

Hagerstown First UMC plans to host two events this upcoming year for Kids Against Hunger. First, the Kick-Off Dinner will be Sunday, Oct.26, from 5 to 7 p.m.. They will then be partnering with Hagerstown High School Chapter of Future Farmers of America to host a one-day packing event at Hagerstown Jr./Sr. High School on Saturday, Feb.7, 2015. For more information, contact Frieden at – Jenn Meadows

2014 Denman Awards to laity, youth and pastor

The 2014 Denman Evangelism Award recipients in Indiana are: Laity Award to Lori Brown Bierhaus of Westport; Youth Award to Emma Hawn of Sheridan and Clergy Award to the Rev. Tim Johnson, pastor of Pfrimmers Chapel UMC in Corydon.

Did you know?

Pastor John Wolf of Valparasio is the last living military chaplain of the 88 Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren chaplains that served in World War II from 1941-1945.

The baptisms of Micah Thomas Cassiday, child of Benjamin and Eva
Cassiday; Elijah Yougsuh Cho, child of Daniel Seunghyun and Hyemin
Na Cho; and Amara Rose Ellis, child of Benjamin and Sarah Ellis; were
part of the Ordination-Commissioning Service on Saturday.

Georgia Street Worship Event

A time of food, fun and sharing


These statistics are for the Indiana Conference year-end 2013.

  • Membership stands at 194,967 down 1,597 from the previous year.
  • Worship attendance, 107,231, down 4,121
  • Church school (children and youth), 38,099, down 1,762
  • Professions of faith, 3,702 down 535
  • Baptisms, 3,286, down 226

Missionary commissioned during annual conference session Saturday morning

A native of California with family roots in the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Sara Cook was commissioned as a missionary during the Ordination-Commissioning Service Saturday morning. This was a new addition to the service. Previously, missionaries were commissioned together at a General Board of Global Ministries meeting in New York City. Cook is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, serving as director of Compass, a family and community initiative of the East Belfast Mission in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She said, “In my early 20s and 30s, I was privileged to be able to study and work in Northern Ireland. These experiences have seasoned my faith with concerns for reconciliation and social justice. My current work with East Belfast Mission provides me with a challenging and invigorating environment in which to practice and develop my faith.” She is married to Mark William McCleary. The couple have two young children: a newborn daughter, Emme, and a 2-year old son, Cormac.

Conference attendees spend evening at Victory Field to end three-day event

The Sixth Annual Conference Session ended with America’s baseball pastime Saturday evening, May 31. Members and guests of the session were able to purchase discount tickets for the Indianapolis Indians baseball game at Victory Field.

Because the Indians are a farm team of the Pittsburg Pirates, Saturday marked “Dress Like a Pirate Night” for the crowd. Offering entertainment for the evening was the Pirate’s Parrot mascot.

The Indians fell to the Scranton Rail-Rides 7-3. Despite the loss, Hoosier United Methodists enjoyed a great evening of baseball, fellowship and conversation in section 121 in Victory Field. – Jenn Meadows