Opening Prayer and Reflection
Rev. Kristine Marshall, Pastor of Bethel UMC, was recognized for her artistry, as she painted a portrayal of this year’s theme, From Water to Witness. She presented her work, which was comprised of three, 4×8 feet sheets of foam. (The medium was chosen in an attempt to be financially responsible.) After the Annual Conference Session, the painting will be hung in the Lucille Raines residence.
Ballot 8 brought no elections for laity. Clergy elected the following:
Matt Landry (55%)
Derek Weber (52%)
Marti Lundy (51%)
Chris Tiedeman (51%)
Ballot 9 elected four lay delegates:
Kim Arnott (52%)
John Shive (52%)
Brett Loyd (50%)
Kenneth Einselen (50%)
Ballot 9 did not complete the clergy delegation.
Steve Austin, Sandy Hook UMC, asked for a moment of personal privilege, requesting that the Conference—in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day—recognize and pray for chaplains in the military. Bishop Trimble extended that invitation, asking all veterans to stand. Austin then offered a prayer.
Extended Cabinet Report
Rev. David Neckers, Conference Superintendent appointed to the Northeast District and Dean of the Appointive Cabinet, asked for a moment of personal privilege, acknowledging his wife, Darlene Neckers, Indiana Conference Prayer Coordinator, who “spends hours seeking God writing prayers for the Conference.” He encouraged members to visit the Prayer Room during the remainder of their time at Annual Conference.
Rev. Neckers began the Extended Cabinet address by issuing farewell and blessings to Rev. Dr. Cindy Reynolds, who is retiring as Executive Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries and Jim Bushfield, Conference Superintendent appointed to the Central District.
Thus, he announced the following transitions:
Larry Whitehead as Executive Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries
Rev. Saneta Maiko, Conference Superintendent appointed to the North District
Aleze Fulbright, Conference Superintendent appointed to the Central District
Rev. Russ Abel, Conference Superintendent appointed to the East District
He also announced the following churches, which concluded that it was time to disband:
Northwest District – Clymers UMC
Northwest District – Sante Fe UMC
North Central District – Arcadia Trinity UMC
North Central District – Kokomo Trinity UMC
Central District – Church of the Savior
South District – Fredricksburg UMC
South District – Milltown UMC
South District – Crandall UMC
“It is because of these churches’ faithfulness to God and God’s faithfulness to them, that Jesus’ witness continues today and into the future,” said Rev. Neckers. In response, members responded by singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
The Extended Cabinet brought a motion to the floor that Bishop Trimble appoint a blue-ribbon task team to report back to the 2020 Annual Conference recommendations for missional alignment of the Indiana Conference. The Conference supported the motion (88%).
Rev. Neckers then offered a few reflections on the Special-Called General Conference. “As your Conference leadership team, our promise is to love you, the clergy and laity of the Indiana Conference, even when we may vehemently disagree,” he said. “Our prayer is you will do the same with one another and continue to pursue the Christian Conferencing Guidelines.”
The Extended Cabinet reinforced their commitment to the Conference’s Wildly Important Goal (WIG), that by 2020 100% of our churches and pastors will be engaged in life-giving changes for Jesus Christ in their mission field.
He closed the report by singing “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” which the Conference joined in.
To read the Extended Cabinet’s full report, click here.
On Ballot 10, laity added to the delegation:
Robert Muhlbaier III (50%)
On Ballot 10, clergy completed their delegation with the addition of:
Daniel Cho (55%)
On Ballot 11, laity added two more delegates:
Mary Fridlund 54%
Nancy Stauffer 52%
On Ballot 12, laity did not elect any delegates. On Ballot 13, the laity completed their delegation:
Albert Hidalgo, Jr. (50%)
Rev. Karen Koelsch, Senior Pastor of Covenant UMC, Fort Wayne, made a motion that the top 3 vote getters become the alternates for Jurisdictional Conference. 2 members spoke against this.
The Conference determined via hand vote to have one final ballot for both clergy and laity, during which they would elect the 3 alternates to Jurisdictional Conference.
During Ballot 14, laity appointed the following alternate delegates:
Carolyn Johnson (45%)
Marcus Jennings (41%)
Nathan Lundy (39%)
Ballot 14 completed the elections of the day, adding the following alternate clergy delegates:
Chiyona Bourne (52%)
Meg Lassiat (45%)
Dennis Adams (45%)
Rev. Darren Cushman, Senior Pastor of North Church, Indianapolis, made a motion to conduct a poll within the Annual Conference regarding issues of sexuality without debate or discussion.
Mark Dicken, retired Clergy, spoke to refer the poll to the Extended Cabinet in order to gain a determine a better sense of the entire state, not just the room. 2 spoke in favor of this. The Conference supported the referral of the poll to the Extended Cabinet (80%).
Rev. Lisa Schubert Nowling, Muncie College Avenue, and Tiffany Duke, laity, made a motion that the Conference place a 1-year moratorium beginning January 1, 2020, “on all church trials investigations, charges against clergy or related actions based on sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression.” Bishop Trimble ruled it out of order since it was not a resolution.
Petition #5: Hunt #5
3 members spoke in favor of the petition, and 3 members spoke against. The Conference voted against the petition (51%).
Petition #6: Hunt #6
Jay Wood offered an amendment, to leave in some stricken language from the petition that would allow it to read:
“We affirm that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. We call everyone to responsible stewardship of this sacred gift. We deplore all forms of the commerce, abuse, and exploitation of sex. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of children and for adequate protection, guidance, and counseling for abused children. All persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual, are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured and to be protected against violence. We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all.”
The Conference supported the amendment (74%).
A member suggested a second amendment to the Petition #6, adding in the phrase, “The Church should support the family in providing age-appropriate education regarding sexuality to children, youth, and adults.”
The Conference voted to end the debate (85%) after a Call for Question then voted passed the amendment (71%).
Petition #6 – amended passed (52%).
Petition #7: Hunt #7
3 members spoke in favor. 3 members spoke against. The Conference did not support the petition (51%).
Council on Finance and Administration
Rodney Frieden, Senior Pastor of Epworth UMC, and Ian Hall, Director of Administration and Finance, began their presentation by acknowledging the members of the Council on Finance and Administration.
In 2016, the Indiana Conference made the commitment to pay our General Church Apportionment at 100%. Our General Church and Jurisdictional commitments last year totaled $5,343,758.
$162,872,000 represents stewardship in action within the local church. This giving then translated to $12,186,000 provided to the Indiana Conference through the Tithe Plus giving model.
They acknowledged and celebrated some of the impact of the Conference throughout the last year:
2,875 professions of faith
400 fresh expressions
The total income budget of the Indiana Annual Conference has been set at $12,835,00. In 2020, General Church and Jurisdictional apportionments represent $5,423,423 or 42% of the budget. Consequently, $7,406,982 or 58% of the budget will be utilized by the Indiana Annual Conference.
Hall moved that the 2020 Annual Conference budget be approved.
A member moved that digital copies be made of Annual Conference printed materials, directing the savings to campus ministries. Bishop treated this as a referral to the Coordinating Council because of the financial implications.
Greg Pimlott, Pastor of Main Street UMC, made a motion that the Conference give priority to Annual Conference ministries before it fulfills its apportionment to the General Fund. Bishop took this as an Advisory motion to CF&A. It passed via vote of hands.
The Conference approved the 2020 Annual Conference budget (96%).
Mark Dicken, retired Clergy, proposed a resolution to defer and delay investigations, trials, and decisions regarding homosexuality for the next 12 months. Bishop Trimble ruled it out of order.
Mark Dicken challenged the ruling of the Chair. 3 spoke in favor of the challenge, 3 spoke against.
The Conference voted to support the ruling of the Chair (63%).
Jerry Rairden, Senior Pastor, Noblesville First UMC, made a motion ask Russ Abel to prayerfully consider candidacy for episcopacy. The Conference affirmed the motion via a vote of hands.
Bishop performed the Giving and Receiving of Appointments. All districts were correct as presented, with the exception of on addition to the North District.
Rev. Dr. Saneta Maiko and Rev. Russ Abel were recognized and appointed as Conference Superintendents.
The Annual Conference Session Committee has set Sunday, June 23, as Annual Conference Sunday. There will be a summary video and other information available next week.
The 2020 Indiana Annual Conference will be held June 11-13, 2020, at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.
The following were recognized for their tireless commitments to the Conference:
Becky Huff Cook, Conference Secretary, who will be retiring in December 2019.
Karen Powell, who has chaired the Annual Conference Sessions Committee for the last 11 years and is retiring __.
Andrew Scanlan-Holmes, who dedicates his time and talents behind-the-scenes to make all of the stage plans work at Annual Conference.
Ruth Ellen Needler and her staff for all they do to organize this event.
A prayer was offered for our newly-elected delegates to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conference.
Jillian Knottenburg requested a moment of personal privilege, acknowledging and apologizing to her “LGBTQ brothers, sisters, and kin working for a church that does not fully recognize them.”
Bishop offered a final blessing as he closed the 2019 session of the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church.