Annual Conference Report for June 12, 2010

 Saturday morning plenary session

Conference receives votes, prepares for day of outreach

The Saturday morning session could be summed up in one word: Reports.

Monitoring: Darren Cushman Wood asked conference members, “Is the church as diverse as your iPod?” Updates on monitoring include celebrations on the diversity of the worship team and styles offered, as well as the use of a sign language interpreter. At the clergy session, there is greater gender and racial diversity among the ordinands. During the laity session, there was only one youth presenting, but the gender of the participants was equal. The Friday morning session consisted of predominately Caucasian male clergy while the Friday afternoon session was comprised of females of various backgrounds.

Youth: The Conference Youth presented Bishop Coyner with tools and a white board with Ecclesiastes 3, regarding a time for change.

John Wesley – also known as Bert Kite – speaks to the annual conference during the joint cabinet and laity addresses.

Cabinet and lay address: “God is alive and working in us,” said The Rev. Cindy Reynolds. “There is a lot of chaos among us.” Members of the conference need to remember our roots and dreams and be open to be shaped by God’s spirit and also need to continue strengthening clergy and laity working together. A guest appearance by John Wesley added to the joint report. Reynolds plus Conference co-lay leaders Kayc Mykrantz and Ike Williams challenged each pastor and layperson to receive one new member each year and also be active in nurturing one person along in the faith. They also challenged churches to be intentional on reaching into the community.

Pension and Insurance: The Rev. Greg McGarvey shared that the board has been working hard to make the transition to one pension and insurance plan. The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits alerted conferences regarding insufficient funds for pensions with changing market conditions. The board has been monitoring this issue. Rates will be unchanged in 2011; there will be an increase in the pre-1982 plan. HealthFlex will be increasing deductibles, but participants can participate in education and screenings to lower their premiums. The conference also received a report from the Central Conference Pension Initiative, which has met its fundraising goal.

Trustees: The Rev. Mark Dicken said there are still three conference corporations operating and called all three bodies to order. The former North Conference had no action items and an update was given about Oakwood Park and Inn. The former South Conference had no action items. The Indiana Conference has district parsonages for sale, has moved to a new conference center and has provided an investment update. The trustees are researching working on a conference-wide insurance program.

Youth, young adult and campus ministry resources: The Rev. Brian Durand introduced two Web sites as resources for the conference. For youth, visit and for campus ministries, visit

Camping: The Rev. Stan Buck provided an update on Impact 28:18 and the capital campaign. More than $2.2 million has been pledged to the Epworth Forest campaign. The first new cabins will be built later this year.

The conference approved the nominations report as amended. The nominations report is on the Conference Web site.

Upper Room: Sarah Wilke, publisher of The Upper Room, talked to conference members about The Upper Room’s 75th anniversary. The one-billionth copy of the Upper Room devotional will soon be printed.

CF&A: The Rev. Kent Millard presented the 2011 budget. Conference members asked for the Leadership Team to explore ways to encourage churches to pay their tithe so Indiana can continue to do strong connectional ministry as a strong connectional church. Members approve the $15.6 million budget. Information on the various ministries and special offerings will be sent to congregations soon. Charles Roth asked for a rule of law regarding General Church apportionments. CF&A also will notify local churches on their General Church apportionment by the conference Web site.

United Methodist Men: Gil Hanke, general secretary of the United Methodist Men, thanked the conference for the support of men’s ministries.

General and Jurisdictional conference: Carolyn Johnson informed the conference about the 2011 election of delegates to the 2012 General and Jurisdictional conferences, as well as how to petition the General Conference. The General Church will alert the conference on how many clergy and lay delegates Indiana can send.

Annual conference session: Next year’s session will be June 9, 10 and 11 at Ball State University in Muncie. – MO & DRG

Day of Outreach sends more than 600 United Methodists across Muncie

They sorted food. They visited nursing homes. They weeded flower beds. They washed cars. And that’s just a few of the mission projects completed by Hoosier United Methodists on the second annual Day of Outreach during annual conference sessions.

More than 630 participants and 150 local volunteer coordinators spread out across Muncie, partnering with social service agencies, local churches, community organizations and businesses.

Rick and Amy Hartig of Stewartsville UMC in Posey County participated in this day last year and this year brought their two daughters, Ashley, 10 and Maddie, 9.

Volunteers board a bus to go to one of the launch sites for the Day of Outreach.

“I’m helping people who need food by doing this,” said Maddie, between counting out six packages of food and handing them to her mom at Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana. “This is my favorite thing to do.”

Cheryl Britt of Roanoke Seminary UMC signed up because she thought it would be interesting. A previous church she attended had a food pantry and Roanoke Seminary helps their local food pantry. “This will give me some inspiration,” said Britt, who will take the information and see how her church’s youth group could help out more with their local food pantry.

According to Tony Baarsma of Second Harvest Food Bank, more than 100 volunteers helped sort out food.  The food bank helps between 400 to 800 families each week, depending on which location they deliver food.

In downtown Muncie at the Hoosier Heartland chapter of the American Red Cross, volunteers assembled comfort kits that would be distributed to people displaced by house fires. The volunteers even brought items for these comfort kits, which include personal hygiene items. Several weeks ago, the Red Cross responded to 11 house fires in the seven county area they serve. “It’s very neat for others to come in and help fill the need,” said Eva Hall, a volunteer with the American Red Cross.

The Rev. Nancy Richmond of Attica First UMC, said, “We reach out and help others. Church is a verb. This is one of the things we can do.” Richmond added that her church has been serving a free community meal on Thursdays and maybe a similar comfort kit for the residents is something they could do.

A United Methodist volunteer cleans out a flower bed during the Day of Outreach on June 12.
Just down the street from the Red Cross, Dick and Priscilla Campbell of Newburgh UMC and Rev. Gary and Rev. Sandy Cooper of New Albany Main Street UMC and Depauw Memorial UMC, respectively, and Rev. Tim Johnson of Pfrimmer’s Chapel, were picking up trash and having a prayer walk and praying and talking with people walking down the street. “We’re still making a difference,” said Priscilla Campbell.

Bob Brake of Selma UMC was coordinating some of the work being done at Christian Ministries of Delaware County by 20 volunteers. The homeless shelter can house 17 homeless men and two apartments for families and is supported by more than 26 area churches. “Our small group cooks dinner for them,” said Brake.

Volunteers pick up trash in a Muncie neighborhood during the Day of Outreach.
Brake was overseeing 20 volunteers pulling up carpet, painting rooms, replacing ceiling tiles, general cleaning, sorting and counting canned foods and more. The Rev. Wendy Canon of Economy/Greens Fork UMC was counting canned foods.

“This is what God calls us to do to help others who need help,” said Canon. “What a blessing it is to do this. We’re doing something to help the community and individuals.

A few blocks away at Blood and Fire, 15-year-old Allyson Oakman of Terre Haute Northside Community UMC, helped set up a sidewalk sale in the second-hand store. “It makes me think of how privileged we are and how some people aren’t,” said Oakman.”It’s a wake-up call.” When she returns to Terre Haute, Oakman is hoping to start something and learn more about poverty issues and how to address these issues.

On the other side of Blood and Fire, which is a community organization dedicated to helping the poor in Muncie’s downtown neighborhoods, is a community center where more volunteers were cleaning its community center, baking cookies for an after-school program, mowing grass and cleaning flowerbeds. Jessica Vogel of Blood and Fire was grateful for the volunteers. “Everything we do is volunteer-based,” said Vogel. “We are getting a lot done in one day, especially as we’re about going into the community.”

Michelle Grant of Indianapolis Wesley UMC was baking cookies and counting pretzels in the overly warm kitchen at the community center. “I like doing service projects,” said Grant. “It’s always an enjoyable experience.”

Another service project grabbed the call of several other youth and young adults at the Muncie Mission on South Liberty Street. They were dancing and singing throughout the afternoon as they washed the mission’s three large vans and box truck. Emily Lumpkin of Modoc Rehobath UMC, Jack Stringer of Fort Wayne St. Joseph’s UMC, Megan Wright of Fort Wayne Robinson Chapel UMC, Kaylee Stoops of Monroe UMC and Casey Madsen of Odon Cornettsville UMC were dancing with several adults the Holy Ghost Shuffle. – MO

Bishop challenges members to celebrate multiplying God’s love with outreach back home

During Saturday evening’s outreach celebration service, Bishop Mike Coyner thanked conference members who took part in the Day of Outreach to the Muncie community. He opened by asking members to multiply what they experience today and repeat it back home. He then read from John 6, the story of the feeding of the 5,000.

Bishop Mike said “Andrew is my favorite disciple. He’s just kind of regular like all of us. My teachers called me ‘Bonnie’s brother.’”

The praise and worship team lead the annual conference in song during the Outreach Celebration Service on Saturday evening.

The Disciple Andrew, Simon’s brother, looked for possibilities. Three times we hear more about Andrew looking for possibilities, while Philip is saying it can’t be done. Andrew had been following John the Baptist. When he discovers Jesus, he goes and tells his brother. Andrew shared his faith with his brother Simon, by saying, “We have found the Messiah.” Jesus transforms Simon.

Andrew always looks for possibilities. A boy’s sack lunch doesn’t look much at the end of the day. Jesus blesses it, but the text does not say Jesus multiplied the boy’s sack lunch. Maybe what really happened is that everyone shared. That would be a miracle, too. Andrew saw the possibility that all could be the answer.

We all saw the possibilities of today. When we take the little we accomplished, we multiply God’s love in unbelievable ways. “I want you to take this experience and do it back home. Some of you have already done a day of outreach,” he said. St. Joseph UMC leaders in South Bend surprised their members with announced buses in their church parking lot a Sunday on their day of outreach.

In the next year, do an outreach day Bishop Mike said. Remember Andrew and the little kid, who where the ones that saw the possibilities in the hands of Christ. The bishop challenged members to take this event and repeat it back home and make multiplication possible. – DRG