By Matthew Oates

MUNCIE , Ind. – Ike Williams and Kayc Mykrantz, conference co-lay leaders, welcomed the laity into session Thursday evening, June 10, of the Indiana Annual Conference session. During the evening, the laity received updates on a variety of issues. Highlights include:

  • Rev. Doug Anderson provided an update on cluster training and some of the outcomes from the clusters. Outcomes include praying for each church and their ministries, joint worship services, joint mission projects, joint youth groups and more.
  • The laity were informed that next year will be an election year for lay delegates to the 2012 General Conference. Williams shared that one of the items coming up will be ways to restructure the general church level of the UMC.
  • Information was given about the United Methodist Youth 2011 event coming to Purdue University in West Lafayette, July 13-17, 2011. For more information, visit www.youth2011.org.
  • Bread and Basin Award recipients were David Ashmore of First UMC in Pendleton for local missions, Helen Aylsworth of Springs Valley UMC in French Lick for national missions, and Carolyn Olivier of Chapel Hill UMC in Indianapolis for international missions.
  • This year’s laity manuscript contest had 19 entries. Jane Heustis of Irvington UMC in Indianapolis was this year’s winner. Her entry, titled “The Taste of Spiritual Strawberries,” is based on John 15:16. A complete version of her manuscript is available online at www.inumc.org, click on 2010 Annual Conference. First runner up was Jennifer Kintner of First UMC in Mishawaka; the second runner up was Mildred Ferro of St. Paul’s UMC in Elkhart.
  • Shane Bennett of Union Chapel UMC in Muncie shared “Three Things We Need to Know About the World.” They included – the world is a scary, mixed-up place; the world really is our parish; and the world exists for Jesus. Bennett also talked about working and living with Muslims and ways to interact with those of different faiths and beliefs. “We lived in a crazy mixed-up world that is different from the ones our grandparents grew up in. The world is no longer way out there. It has come right here into our midst,” he said.
  • Music at the Laity Session was provided by the University United Methodist Men’s Choir which sings both spirituals and gospel songs. The group started in 1984 under the leadership of the Rev. Rosa Harris.