MUNCIE, Ind. -- Bishop Mike Coyner called the first Indiana Annual Conference Session to order on June 25 using a gavel made from the wood of an Indiana meeting house used by Bishop Robertson. He then led in prayer using a prayer of John Wesley, founder of Methodism.

  • Coyner introduced Carolyn Johnson, conference secretary.
  • Mary Hubbard and Karen Devaisher were introduced as the co-chairs of the conference sessions committee, which was responsibily for the conference arrangements
  • Jim Bushfield, new director of connectional ministries, reviewed the process of how the rules and structure of the conference were written and introduced the new rules and structure of the annual conference which were adopted.
  • Kent Millard, chair of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration, introduced the proposed 2010 conference budget. The interim CF&A was composed of equal number of members from each of the previous two conferences. He reported that the recession has made an impact upon how people give to the church. He also reported 600 UM churches have given more than 90 percent of their tithe. Another 50 percent gave less than 90 percent of their expected tithe. On the average, most United Methodists give 2 to 3 percent of their income. A $15.1 million budget was proposed. What CF&A is requesting is a tithe (10 percent) for conference and general church plus a one percent asking for district ministries. Streamlining ministry has included reduction of administration, reduction of property and increased general conference support. The budget will come back to the conference on Saturday morning.
  • CF&A policies were adopted.
  • In regard to retiree health-care insurance, CF&A proposes a shift in health care insurance coverage for subsidizing Medicare coverage. That proposal was discussed on Friday. (See retiree health-care story.)
  • Concerns were raised about the proposed retiree health-care insurance plan and funding of campus ministries whose funding is not in the 2010 proposed budget.
  • Ashley Cone, the new manager of the Indiana Cokesbury Store, was introduced. She presented Bishop Coyner with a white stole bearing the new Indiana Conference logo.