Annual Conference Report for June 11, 2010

Schnase takes principles of Five Practices to lay life, witness

Missouri United Methodist Bishop Robert Schnase, the Indiana Annual Conference’s guest teacher, shared with members and guests concepts from his latest book, Five Practices of Fruitful Living, which was just released by Abingdon Press. The conference gave a complimentary copy of the book to all conference attendees. It reviews the Five Practices – Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service and Extravagant Generosity – and how to apply them to personal discipleship.

The book will have a leader’s guide available in three weeks. Schnase takes a high view of lay ministry and how fundamental life experiences directly affect lay people’s lives and intertwines grace and concepts with the Five Practices.

Fruitfulness is used throughout the Bible with metaphors, such as vines, branches, soil, weeds and more. “Fruitfulness refers to a promise of the future,” said Schnase. “Following Jesus and fruitfulness are linked. Our fruit is God’s fruit.”

The Apostle Paul used images of fruit as a way for people to explore inner-growth. Jesus and the disciples practiced the fundamental practices by going to the temple to pray, read, engage people and intercede on their behalf.

One of the questions people have, as they look at spiritual mentor, is is how did they become that way? “They came to the point where they are through certain patterns,” said Schnase. “They’ve developed patterns that help them stay open to God, making room in their hearts. They open themselves to God in radical ways.”

One of the key aspects of being fruitful is the grace that God grants to each of us. It begins with Radical Hospitality by inviting and embracing God into our hearts and lives. “We are there to adjust our lives centered around the presence of God,” he said.

We need to acknowledge we are loved and God continues to reach out to us through a variety of ways, means and actions. Sometimes those items fill our lives and block our relationship with God. It can be difficult to block out time for God and be receptive to God’s life and love.

“We live in a seductive society. They made it hard for us to find silence,” said Schnase. “Sometimes the most unexpected things happen for us to say ‘yes’ to God’s love and a spiritual life.” These can be life-changing events, such as finances, births, deaths, falling in love and more. – MO

Conference members and guests were able to spend time in solitude in the fourth-floor prayer room.

Highlights from Friday morning

Rev. George Dinwiddie
A lively discussion of conference rules about the election of delegates to the 2012 General and Jurisdictional conferences was heard on Friday morning. The conference decided that in addition to information provided through annual conference by those wishing to be elected in 2011, information distributed by individuals seeking to be elected will be permitted to be distributed at the annual conference.

Charles Roth requested a rule of law questioning whether the Indiana Conference Standing Rules and Rule of Order was in compliance with the 2008 United Methodist Book of Discipline paragraphs 634.2,3 & 4 in relation to higher education and campus ministry.

Jim Bushfield announced that Marlene Fenstermacher will represent Cokesbury in Indiana, since Cokesbury no longer has a store in Fishers.

Rev. George Dinwiddie, 98, was honored by the conference as the oldest living clergy member of the Indiana Conference. He was ordained in 1949. Bishop Coyner presented him the “conference cane” in recognition of this honor.

Notes from Friday afternoon

Yours FREE

Amazing Grace:
A History of Indiana Methodism 1801-2001

Speaking Faith:
The Essential Handbook for Religion Communicators

Compliments of your Indiana Conference Communications Team.

Foundations. Members of the two former Indiana United Methodist conferences approved the merger of the three former United Methodist Foundations (North, South and Area). The name of the new foundation is The United Methodist Foundation of Indiana, Inc. The conference elected these new directors: Nancy Armstrong, Dixie Arter, Forest Bowers, Rick Childs, John Clay, Bishop Mike Coyner, Jim Gentry, Julie Goldsberry, Tom Heck, Walt Koon, Glenn Larson, Jay Love, Mary Miller, Mitch Norwood, Nancy Raidy, Gene Robbins, Jim Shaw, John Stroh, Roger Summers and DeVon Yoho.

Rejuvenate reported its program to assist clergy with financial management seminars to assist clergy and laity in finance management and with grant to assist clergy to reduce their financial debt. More information is available online. Visit

Connectional Ministries reported mission and ministry activities of congregations CONNECTED together across Indiana. They included:

  • Hoosiers donated more than $800,000 to Haiti Earthquake Relief through United Methodist Committee on Relief. Haiti Methodists are grateful for your contributions to Haiti relief.
  • Some 1,592 Volunteer in Mission teams from Indiana served on mission projects both here in the U.S. and around the world. Indiana Methodists respond to numerous disasters like the recent Nashville floods.
  • Young adults are ready to lead and announced the formation of a young adult leadership team.
  • Campus ministries asked congregations to receive a campus ministry offering. The conference has cut more than $200,000 to campus ministries. Support has shifted to congregations.
  • Residency in Ministry is a supportive program to 91 candidates to ordained ministry.
  • Camps continue to encourage children and youth in learning more about their Christian discipleship. Visit
  • Operation Doctor supported the education of Dr. Mark at UMC’s Kissy Hospital in Sierra Leone. The hospital is now planning a new 48 bed ward for children.
  • April 25 began the NO MALARIA global campaign to raise $75 million to combat malaria in Africa.
  • Advance for Christ is a General Church second-mile giving program.
  • Conference-wide networks created to support advocacy ministries.
  • The conference encouraged congregations to support the six special Sunday offerings.
  • Conference-approved evangelist Kim Reisman reported on making disciples by individuals and congregations across Indiana.
  • United Methodist Women give to mission here in Indiana around the world. UMW has given more than $20,000 in scholarships to youth.
  • United Methodist Men are collecting tools for Haiti, gleaning food for Society of St. Andrew.
  • Scouting ministries presented Ellettsville UMC with the Bishop’s Award for Scouting.
  • Children’s ministry has posted resources on the conference Web site.
  • Connectional Ministries now has a Spiritual Formation team.
  • Conference Prayer Coordinator.

Related Institutions. Michael Cartwright, of United Methodist-related Indianapolis University, lead a report of the 21 related institutions. Representatives of the new Indiana United Methodist Foundation, Clarian Health, Lucille Raines Residence, United Theological Seminary, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Indiana United Methodist Children’s Home were present.

Retiring clergy of 2010

Row 1 (left to right): Jack Hartman, Carolyn Hartman, Rebecca White, Dennis White, Marilyn Couger, Laura Jones, Ann Hutchins-Case

Row 2 (left to right): Hugh Severance, Leslie Severance, Judith Wooden, Kenneth Wooden, John Windell, Kenneth Mahan, Patricia Mahan

Row 3 (left to right): Patrick Sinnott, James Taylor

Row 4 (left to right): Judith Marshall, Al Smith, Michael Rynkiewich, Teresa Rynkiewich

Row 1 (left to right): Harold Klinker, Joy Klinker, Myron James, Sharon James, Cleveland Shields, Linda Dolby, Mary Ellen Craddock, Billy Craddock

Row 2 (left to right): Diane Barrett, Jean Finney, Alan Rumble, Patricia Rumble, Carol Lee Greene, Don Smith

Row 3 (left to right): Rosa Harris, Dennis Alstott, Tom True, Jan True, Malcolm Greene, Bill Farmer, Donna Farmer

Row 1 (left to right): Nancy Chizmar, Dan Barker, Joyce Barker, Sharon Hall, Edward Scherer-Berry, Mark Day, Glenda Woodcox

Row 2 (left to right): Chris Madison, Robert Ostermeier, John Hall, Leonard Sjogren, Patrick Schonbachler

Those remembered at Friday night’s memorial service with date of death


Baker, Robert, 11/26/2009; Berry, John, 3/16/2010; Bill, Lester, 7/9/2009; Blessing, William, 8/29/2009; Chrispell, Richard, 11/24/2009; Custer, Rex E., 10/3/2009; Enlow, John, 3/19/2010; Grame, Sheldon, 1/26/2009; Hamilton, Lucinda, 3/13/2010; Hayden, Ernest, 1/2/2010; Hendrix, Cecil, 12/31/2009; Herr, Berneice, 12/20/2009; Hill, George, 2/11/2010; Hinds, Dorothy, 3/26/2010; King, Norris L., 9/13/2009; Lamar, William Fred, 1/13/2010; Lewke, Richard, 3/18/2010; Meddock, William D., 7/1/2009; Miller, Lloyd Howard, 5/18/2010; Moody, William C, 4/2/2010; Morgan, Ivan, 10/25/2009; Myers, Raymond, 9/11/2009; Palmatier, Howard Norman, 7/1/2009; Pavy, Doyle Jack, 2/27/2010; Pritchard, J. Samuel, 10/5/2009; Ray, James, 3/9/2010; Robertson, Charles, 5/15/2010; Schnepp, Kasey, 1/7/2010; Sharp, Earl, 9/24/2009; Sievers, Robert W., 8/11/2009; Smith, Laurence I., 7/24/2009; Taylor, Charles, 5/12/2010; Temple, Paul, 6/17/2009; Voit, Charles, 11/20/2009; Wilks, Donald, 10/18/2009


Ballard, Karleen, 9/5/2009; Beery, Merry, 1/24/2010; Bell, Roberta, 7/28/2009; Clark, James, 2/13/2010; Cobbs, Geraldine, 7/26/2009; Cook, Thurl, 3/5/2010; Dunten, David, 5/10/2010; Emerick, Mattie, 2/8/2010; Gowan, Judy, 3/18/2010; Huber, Betty Ann, 4/2/2010; Joyce, Pauline, 1/1/2010; Lafke, Willet, 12/15/2009; LaSuer, Mary Gene, 12/30/2009; Michel-Kaetzel, Evelyn, 11/8/2009; O’dell, Mary Jane, 3/31/2010; Saltzgaber, Carol, 11/6/2009; Smith, Doris Irene, 8/1/2009; Smith, Jane Anne, 12/3/2009; Smith, Norma, 10/3/2009; Steele, Diana M., 8/29/2009; Thistle, Muriel, 9/19/2009

Surviving Spouses

Brett, Shirley A., 7/4/2009; Carey, Cordelia, 5/2/2010; Crecelius, Agnes, 8/2/2009; Fields, Mabel, 5/17/2010; Hathaway, Beverly “Joan,” 5/25/10; Heath, Eleanor, 12/16/2009; Loomis, Marcella Sally, 11/25/2009; Moman, Amy Marguerite, 6/1/10;Morgan, Barbara, 3/21/2010; Persons, Madonna E, 8/31/2009; Rapson, Eleanor, 4/18/2010; Rich, L. Louise Doyle, 5/23/2010; Rowland, Doris, 11/4/2009; Schinkel, Leah, 9/19/2009; Schwein, Mildred, 12/18/2009; Shoemaker, Irene, 11/1/2009; Smith, Imogene, 10/27/2009; Stephens, Laura, 7/13/2009; Turley, Vesta, 9/23/2009; Williams, Rose, 12/29/2009; Yeater, Eileen, 9/21/2009

Conference takes time to remember, celebrate lives of those who served

The Rev. David V.W. Owen preaches during the service of remembrance and celebration of resurrection.
The annual conference paused from the business of passing resolutions and reviewing reports to celebrate the lives of 35 clergy and 42 spouses who died since the last annual conference session.

David V.W. Owen, executive assistant to the bishop, preached the sermon, “Remember So We Can Live Again,” based on Deuteronomy 34:1-8.

Recalling the past several years with the two conferences talking about creating a new conference, Owen shared that many people have worked looking into the future to discern where God is leading us. “And that is always scary, risky and it is also faith-evoking because we are trying to discern the mind of God.”

Owen shared a time in seminary when Dr. John Oswalt taught about remembering, which was different in the Old Testament days compared to our modern concepts. “We tend to think of remembering as a nostalgic recall of the good old days. But in the times of Abraham, Issac and Jacob the concept of remembering formed into a concept Oswalt described as ‘remembering so that we might live it again.’ And the understanding in the Old Testament was that when we remember the mighty acts of God we can live those acts again,” said Owen.

Remembering in this way served as an affirmation of faith and was the basis of hope. “If we really believe God acted in previous generations, we can believe that God will act in our generation and for the generations unfolding before us,” said Owen. “When we live in that hope, we will live again.”

In celebrating the lives of the pastors and the spouses, they witnessed the mighty acts of God and experienced the blessings of God during hard times and good times.

“They stood by us in some of the most painful moments of life and whispered words of hope and help. They reminded us of God’s way of acting in the midst of tragedy and hopelessness. And somehow we hung on to hope and lived through it. We are here tonight because they invited us to remember, and when we remembered we were able to live again the blessing of God.”

Reflecting on the story of the Moses, Owen shared in Deuteronomy 34:5 on the death of Moses, where he died on God’s command. In the Wesley Study Bible, it shares that, “Command is literally ‘mouth.’ Wesley refers to rabbis who wrote that God took Moses with a kiss: ‘No doubt he died in the embraces of his love.’ Moses didn’t die at an arbitrary order of God. He died in the warm embrace of God,” said Owen.

One of the most profound moments in his life is when he was at the bedside of his dying father. “I was there the moment he breathed his last. As my sister and I held each other in that moment, I leaned over and kissed my father on the forehead and said, ‘Dad, I love you,” said Owen. “When I saw that note in the Wesley Study Bible about Moses dying at the command of God and learned that meant with the ‘kiss of God’ I understood the might act of God’s love that transcends eternity.”

Owen asked those in attendance to remember their call to ministry, be it as a pastoral leader or lay member to the church.

“But most importantly we will remember that we might live again the life that Jesus won for us. A life that commands us to go into all the world and to teach them the story of God’s mighty acts, and in so doing to transform the world by transforming lives,” said Owen. “That is our past, our present and our future.” – MO

The handbell choir of Meridian Street UMC in Indianapolis provided special music during the service.

PDF version of this report.