Indiana Annual Conference 2011 Summary

“Do justice; Love kindness; Walk humbly with God” from Micah 6:8 was the theme of the Third Session of the Indiana Conference held at Ball State University in Muncie June 8-11. Worship specialist Marcia McFee of Truckee, Calif., opened the conference with a two-hour teaching session about “Life Changing Worship.” She mixed music, videos, stories and words engaging an audience of more than 2,200 members and guests in Emens Auditorium. She said worship needs to be transforming… and we should expect something to happen to us spiritually. Worship should be meaningful and memorable. She also worked with the worship planning team in designing and leading retiree recognition, memorial and ordination-commissioning worship services.

Indiana Bishop Michael J. Coyner, led two Bible studies, one on the conference theme verse and one on Acts 1 about the selection of the disciple to take the place of Judas. He applied Acts 1 to the selection of delegates by the conference saying we have more good people than we have spots for them (as delegates), even though Indiana is now the fourth largest conference.

The conference celebrates some firsts. The leading one was that both membership and average worship attendance grew rather than declined. This is the first time in more than 30 years. That is somewhat credited to the new emphasis on church growth and development and the first full year of a Conference Church Development team with five full-time staff members deployed across the state. More than 60 congregations have been enrolled in the Fruitful Congregations program. Fifty more congregations will begin the program in September.

Another first was the building of the first lodge in 43 years at Epworth Forest Conference Center in North Webster. Bishop Coyner dedicated it June 4. The lodge was named in honor of retired Bishop and Mrs. Sheldon Duecker of Fort Wayne. Another lodge is under construction; there are plans for four more lodges, each one housing 32 campers. In 2010, the seven conference camping sites received 3,206 summer campers of which 495 made professions of faith and 213 high school students responded to a call of vocational ministry.

Indiana continues to lead the North Central Jurisdiction in volunteers in mission and raised more than $3 million dollars in 2010 for mission and Advance Specials giving. In 2010, more than 5,000 volunteers-in-mission served 3,372 days of service valued at $3.4 million. The conference approved 73 Conference Advanced Special programs across the state.

The conference approved a $15.8 million budget for 2012 of which $5.6 million is for General Church and Jurisdictional apportionments. The conference plans to pay its General Church apportionments in full having paid only 84 percent of them the previous year.

During the conference, 20 elders and four deacons were ordained, and four provisional elders were commissioned. The conference celebrated the ministries of 50 retiring clergy representing 1,161 years of ministry.

Nine laity were elected to General Conference including: Ed Fenstermacher (Fort Wayne), Kayc Mykrantz (Logansport), James Ottjes (Thorntown), Patricia Miller (Indianapolis), Ike Williams (Carmel), Rita Gaither-Gant (Indianapolis), Carolyn Johnson (W. Lafayette), Douglas Worthington (Fort Wayne) and Ken Adams (South Bend). North Central Jurisdictional delegates elected are: Doris Clark (Indianapolis), Anne Bunch (Terre Haute), Jeananne Park (Lagrange), Melissa Zimmerman (Greentown), Manet Shettle (Alexandria), Ruth Ellen Stone (Clayton), Ashley Moreland (Fort Wayne) and Megan Manning (Claypool) and Benjamin Boruff (Churubusco). Three reserves elected are: Kenneth Hudgins, Jr. (Valparaiso), Roger Summers (Fort Wayne) and Gregory Cook (Franklin).

Nine clergy were elected to General Conference including: Frank Beard (Kokomo), Kimberly Reisman (West Lafayette), Russ Abel (Fort Wayne), Gregory McGarvey (Fishers), Beth Ann Cook (Bedford), Michael Dominick (Dayton), Mark Dicken (Elkhart), Cindy Reynolds (Valparaiso) and Chris Nunley (Newburgh). North Central Jurisdictional delegates elected are: Lisa Schubert (Princeton), Andy Kinsey (Franklin), Brian Durand (Fishers), Mark Fenstermacher (Bloomington), Raymond Wilkins (Clinton), Gregg Pimlott (Greenfield), Ida Easley (Jeffersonville), Glenn Howell (Zionsville), Taylor Burton-Edwards (Nashville, Tenn.). Three reserves elected are: Shalimar Holderly (Fort Wayne), Chris Roberts (Indianapolis), Sandy Harlan (Indianapolis). The delegation will elect a head delegate when they meet later this year.

The conference approved one petition asking the General Conference to change Ministerial Education Funding from 75 to 50 percent for theological schools in the U.S. and delegate 25 percent for theological schools and MEF programs in central conferences. Two other petitions were referred to the Indiana Conference Leadership Table.

Membership stands at 200,620 members up 3,271 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 117,750 members up 1,013. Church school attendance stands at 38,125 down 1,217.

Daniel R. Gangler,
 director of communication,
 Indiana Conference