Annual Conference Reports for June 10, 2011

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A PDF version of this report is available

Friday morning

Bishop Coyner asked the historic questions of the ordinands during the Board of Ordained Ministry report.

McFee centers on the Lord’s Prayer as worship theme

Dr. Marcia McFee began Friday morning worship by leading conference members with new hymns and old hymns with new vitality. She said we, as United Methodists, are blessed as a singing church.

Youth volunteers read, from places across the auditorium, sections of a new version of the Lord’s Prayer. They were followed by the Praise Team singing another new version of the Lord’s Prayer. “Our God, in heaven, holy is your name….,” they sang.

“Jesus did some radical stuff, turning things upside down,” McFee said. He taught people how to walk in new ways. Her words were interspersed with video illustrating compassion toward street people.

“Great is your God…,” sang the Praise Team, followed by McFee partnering worshippers and leading them through the Lord’s Prayer using hand-and-arm motions.

Young adult and campus ministry

Beginning with a video titled MOVE, the young adult and campus ministry team led by Chris Roberts reported that the average age of a UM member is 57. In Indiana only 9.7 percent of the pastors are under 40. He said young adults are a very diverse group filled with confusion as well as opportunities.

“As the church we must know that young adults are searching for community,” he said. As a conference, we have three priorities: training young adult leaders, educating and raising awareness of young adults and empowering young adults to lead in ministry to other young adults.

One of our key parts of young adult ministry is campus ministry. Adriane Curtis, team leader for the campus ministry affinity group, thanked the conference members for their support. Here are highlights of campus ministry in Indiana:

  • Wesley Foundation at Purdue has been on three mission trips.
  • Indiana State University at Terre Haute shared a personal testimony of how this ministry reaches out to students.
  • University of Evansville just hosted the national United Methodist Student Forum.
  • The University of Indianapolis ministry creates curricular and co-curricular experiences enriching Christian disciples. UIndy thanked the conference for Indianapolis churches’ hospitality, compassion and support as well as mission trips. UIndy also has a youth ministry training program.
  • DePauw University campus ministry just created a new place to meet students interested in spirituality. UMW’s School of Christian Mission is coming to DePauw this summer.

Curtis said it takes all of us to support campus ministry in Indiana. Conference Report book pages 59-60 explain the new approach to campus ministry in Indiana.

Camping ministry celebrates commitments, new lodge

Camping Committee Chair Jim Coy reported that this past year 495 campers made first-time commitments to Christ and 215 campers made a commitment to Christian ministry. Last weekend Bishop Coyner dedicated the Bishop Duecker Lodge. Next to be built is Fenestermacher Lodge plus four more lodges coming in the future.

Nick Yarde and Ian Hall as camping director and camping business manager lead a fantastic team of camp employees and volunteers. Chris Nunley made a report of the camping capital campaign to reach future generations for Jesus Christ and invited conference members to contribute to the campaign. The campaign is raising funds to build six new lodges. One is complete. One is in progress.

Indiana Conference Retiree class of 2011

Front row left to right: Timothy Kumeh, Cynthia Anne Kumeh, Kenneth Burcham, Nancy Burcham, Harleen Cutrell and Ted Cutrell.
Second row left to right: Jean Brindel, Judith Adams, Kathy Brittenham, Randall Brady, Barb Hedrick, Gordon Burton, Donna Pollard-Burton, Richard Patton and Kaye Ferguson-Patton.
Third row left to right: Ken Adams, Steven Brittenham, Michael Heath, Blake Neff and Nancy Neff.

Front row left to right: Katharine Walker, Kent Millard, Minnietta Millard, Karen Rhoades Weilling, Charlotte Overmyer and Mike Overmyer.
Second row left to right: Judy Rhoades,Pamela Montgomery, Paula Fulp, Sue Hannah, Nancy Mitchell, Philip Mitchell, David Schwarz and Norm Nellis.
Third row left to right: John Smith, Paul Fulp and J. Morris Hannah.

Front row left to right: Robert Coleman, Joyce Coleman, Michael Reed, Jacquie Reed, Kathy Mead and Ed Mead.
Second row left to right: Doug Witt, Jo Witt, Joe Wyatt, Mary Wyatt. Jack Shake, Marcia Knight and Mary Z. Longstreth.

Cabinet report stresses continuation of Imagine Indiana

Cindy Reynolds, chair of the Indiana Cabinet, opened the cabinet address with thanks to the directors and entire conference staff for their work and support. She continued saying a disciple is one who follows the life and teaching of Christ.

“A disciple is one who shares in the community, serves in some form of ministry every day and yearns to lead others to become disciples,” she said. We, as a conference, have grown in worship attendance and membership; we, the cabinet, thank you. We also appreciate your prayers and support. She announced Bert Kite will now chair the cabinet.

Pondering on Acts 2, she asked, “What does it look like when God pours out His Spirit on His people.” First there was chaos. Then, “Do no harm, do good, stay in love with God.” God pours His Spirit out on people – sharing ministry with others. “These words must become actions which shape our ministry,” she said.

The cabinet is intentional about praying together and sharing with each other. We want every congregation to be a fruitful congregation. There is no church too small or too large to be in mission with Jesus Christ. We appreciate the new tasks for tithing, reaching out to a new generation,

She said the cabinet and directors plan to do mission projects from Epworth Forest to an international project during the next five years. This is only the beginning. Imagine Indiana was a starting point. The best days are yet ahead. We live in covenant with the Living God. We are in covenant today. It’s laity and clergy standing and working side-by-side, she concluded.

Institutional Relations Team report

Michael Cartwright of the University of Indianapolis and convener of the Institutional Relations Team welcomed representatives of the 22 institutions to annual conference. Institutions sending representatives include DePauw University, Franklin UM Community, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Indiana UM Children’s Home, Indiana UM Foundation, Lucille Raines Residence, United Theological Seminary, University of Evansville, University of Indianapolis, Heritage Pointe Community, Wesley Manor and Indiana University Health.

Dan Evans, president and CEO of Indiana University Health, spoke of the ties of the church to Methodist Hospital and its network. The system provides a large amount of charity care, as well as services to clergy and their families including counseling and discounts.

Laity report dwells on cultivating Christian discipleship

Kayc Mykranz, conference co-lay leader, led the laity report saying we are making disciples in new beginnings. She said, “We want to be good stewards at home, at work and out in the world.” We ask, “What does it mean to me to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?”

First it means, telling our own story in an “elevator speech.” That’s planting the seed.

Ike Williams, conference co-lay leader, then continued the report saying we need to nurture faith through “spiritual food.” He then shared a few stories taken from experiences in the Indiana Conference.

Mykrnaz continued, water and cultivation are next. God teaches us to go out into our culture. She called it “What if…” Instead of investing in a new building, investing in a church that becomes a church without walls, like New Day Community UMC in Merrillville, partnering with homes and schools by being Jesus for others.

Williams said, Indiana clusters are busy making and cultivating new disciples. He went on to give examples from congregations that participated in outreach ministries into their community through prayer stations, trash pickup and in other non-traditional ways, using the what if…

Cindy Reynolds said we are leaving the building to transform our neighbors with gardens. “Church as neighbor, transforming the world,” she said. We text, we tweet and we Skype. We need to plant those seeds to making the disciples then nurture disciples for the transformation of the world.

They concluded their two reports with a video clip of Bishop Mike Coyner’s grandchildren.

Bishop Coyner receiving a framed and signed T-shirt and Diet Mountain Dew from confernce youth.

Bible study with the Bishop focuses on making decisions

Friday afternoon kicked off with a Bible study from Acts 1, which is where we find the early church deciding how to find a replacement for Judas.

“They get antsy. They’re almost early Methodists,” said Bishop Coyner. “We just can’t sit here and pray. They took action.”

Comparing today’s actions in the conference where we are taking ballots, the early church decided to cast lots for a replacement. Reflecting on their requirements of those who have seen Jesus and dealing with generations removed who have not seen Jesus, Coyner reminded the conference of “‘Blessed are those who have not seen but believe.’ That’s us. I have seen the effects of him in our lives. I have seen the power of the resurrection. The Apostles are really looking for folks who have seen the power of resurrection in their lives.”

Coyner reflected, “What happened to those two guys, Joseph and Matthias? We never hear from them again. First, I hope they remained faithful. But even though they prayed, they missed it. They still didn’t get it right. They overlooked women. The early church had lots of early women leaders.”

Throughout the process, God is working on the next apostle, Saul of Tarsus, who experienced his own conversion. “Even when we pray hard, the truth is God is the one who calls us,” said Bishop Coyner. “We help people recognize God’s call in their lives.”

Relating back to the conference and elections for delegates, Coyner shared, we have more good people than we have spots for them. We ought to be celebrating that fact. We’re limited like other conference. Indiana is now the fourth largest conference in worship attendance, tenth largest in membership. “We actually have more people to be considered than we have spots. We need to say thank you Lord for all of the good laity and clergy. We all need to be willing to serve. We are called. Whatever our work is, we are called.”

He said the only vote that counts has been taken. God already has voted for you. God chose you. God loves you. God has said you are one of mine.

Election of delegate to 2012 General, Jurisdictional conference

Bishop Coyner introduces Indiana’s General and Jurisdictional delegates.
These nine laity were elected to General Conference in order of election are: Ed Fenstermacher, Kayc Mykrantz, James Ottjes, Patricia Miller, Ike Williams, Rita Gaither-Gant, Carolyn Johnson, Douglas Worthington and Ken Adams.

Jurisdictional delegates elected are: Doris Clark, Anne Bunch, Jeananne Park, Melissa Zimmerman, Manet Shettle, Ruth Ellen Stone, Ashley Moreland and Megan Manning and Benjamin Boruff.

Three reserves elected are: Kenneth Hudgins, Jr., Roger Summers and Gregory Cook.

These nine clergy were elected to General Conference in order of election are: Frank Beard, Kimberly Reisman, Russ Abel, Gregory McGarvey, Beth Ann Cook, Michael Dominick, Mark Dicken, Cindy Reynolds and Chris Nunley.

Jurisdictional delegates elected are: Lisa Schubert, Andy Kinsey, Brian Durand, Mark Fenstermacher, Raymond Wilkins, Gregg Pimlott, Ida Easley, Glenn Howell, Taylor Burton-Edwards.

Three reserves elected are: Sharlimar Holderly, Chris Roberts, Sandy Harlan.

Service of remembrance and Celebration of Resurrection

Conference gathers to remember, reflect

Those remembered

Clergy: Emerson H. Abts, V. Glen Beck, C. Melvin Blake, David Cross, Robert S. Davis, Donald Duggleby, Charles Dumond, Lester Ellis, John W. Fischer, Jr. , Glenn Harness, Leon George Hostetter, Wayne Johnson, L. Kenneth Kraft, Carl Martin, Earl McCall, Dean McCoy, Fuhrman Miller, Ralph Miller, Bennett Mullins, Max Nicoson, Max O’Dell, Everett D.H. Owens, Osa Edward Patrick, Bert Reed, Russell Stevens, Summer Walters, Ester Wilson

Clergy spouses: Flossine Baker, Cecile Bellmore, Margaret Bosworth, F. Janice Bredemeier, Primrose Brooks, Jane Carpenter, Leona (Lee) R. Cook, Judy Coomer, Ruth Crawford, Eleanor Mae Donham, Debra Evans, Jo Ella Evans, Lillian (Betty) Frields, Leslie Gillespie, Elva Grace, Mary Green, Juanita Holdzkom, Mary Margaret Howell, Eunice Hutchinson, Judith Kaetzel, Florence Kemp, Patty Lacoax, Dorothy McGuin, Doris Poindexter, Donna Scott, Lucy Surber, Ruth (Peg) Townsend, Grace Vanest, Mary Wake, Eva Wallace, Dorothy Wilbur, Edna Mae Wood, Judith Wooden

Indiana Conference members, friends and families filled Emens Auditorium on Friday evening to pause and remember those clergy and clergy spouses who have died during the past year.

“Love Kindness” was the theme for the service which remembered 27 clergy and 33 clergy spouses.

Brian White, superintendent of the Southeast District, preached, “It’s a Mystery” based on Isaiah 63:7-9 and I Cor. 15:51-53, 56-57.

White and his wife Michelle, lost their adult son Ian last year.

“It is with a sense of humility that I share with you this evening,” said White.

White talked about the first time a pastor receives the call – the call from a church member who asks the pastor to come visit a family during the death of a loved one. “Suddenly as the circle gathers around the hospital bed, one member will look up and says, ‘Pastor, can you say a prayer?’”

Jesus got a call from Mary and Martha about Lazarus. Jesus, however, didn’t come quickly. Lazarus had been dead for three days. They questioned if Jesus had arrived prior to the death if Lazarus would still be alive.

White recalled thoughts that go through our minds during those times: If I only had paid attention to the signs, if only I took them to the doctor. “Most of us have responded to those calls. But what happens when we are the ones? Do we call a pastoral friend, a district superintendent, a bishop?”

After the friends and family have returned home, that first night home alone is quiet and we are faced with the mystery of life, of death, of resurrection.

Sometimes we have to look backwards to the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with God. Somehow that relationship was broken, and we continually look back and wonder how that happened.

It happens when a mother cuddles the children and they ask what happened to grandpa. It happens when we are going back to work and the world won’t stop around us. “We try to look backwards as we go forward.”

There are plenty of books to guide us through issues of death and grief. “They’re just trying to help you get a glimpse back into the garden,” said White. “We believe profoundly but we don’t know what will happen.”

In the movie Shakespeare in Love, there is a running gag between two characters where they continually say, “We all know it turns out well in the end. And yet when we come to the question of how it will end, we answer, ‘I don’t know. It’s a mystery.’”

White continued, “I’m married to a woman who loves mysteries. One thing I’ve noticed is that people like them more when they aren’t a part of it. When we experience this moment, all of those thoughts we tell people don’t sit very well.”

One of the other mysteries is community and facing the mystery of life with hope. “As we read the list of names, some of those names are familiar names. I feel a loss with their passage. It turns out alright in the end. This list represents people who become part of that great cloud of witnesses.”

“God can still work through a community of believers,” said White.” I believe it will turn out alright. How? I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”