2020 AC Summary: October 10

Celebrating the Life of Bishop Mike Coyner
Bishop Julius Trimble and Bishop John Hopkins opened the Celebration of Life service by sharing personal stories about Bishop Mike Coyner and his influence on their lives and the lives of United Methodists throughout the denomination. Bishop Hopkins presented Marsha Coyner with flowers and a medallion. In turn, Marsha addressed the Conference, thanking members for their support through the last several months.

Rev. Dr. Aleze Fulbright opened the Celebration of Life Service with prayer and scripture. Rev. Dave Neckers preached on Proverbs 13:22, challenging the Conference to leave an inheritance through investing in the lives of others. The Conference then honored the lives of 46 clergy and 30 spouses who have joined the Church Triumphant during the last year.

Morning Plenary

Opening Business
Motion: “that we care for only those items on the approved agenda and do not handle any new items.” The motion passed (87%).

MaryAnn Moman made a motion to reconsider allowing new business after the stated business is completed today, if time allows, to be open to the Spirit. Greg Pimlott spoke in favor of her motion. No speeches were against. The decision was made to not vote on this motion.

Darlene White, Conference Secretary, announced that the official tally of registration for both lay and clergy on August 15, 2020 were as follows:

  • 1,268 Virtual Session
  • 310 On-site
  • 1,522 Total

Nominating Committee
Ed Fisher gave the Nominating Committee report.

Motion: “that the Conference Nominations Committee’s report be accepted as presented.”

The motion passed (98%).

Rules and Structure
Paul Wagner presented on behalf of the Rules and Structure Team.

Motion: “’take up from the table’ the Rules amendments and other remaining items brought by our Rules Committee.”

The motion passed (95.4%).

Paul Wagner then presented a motion to clarify the process described in Rule D.2.i.3, which allows a clear process for amending the Rules & Structure document so that everyone knows when deadlines are and how motions to amend will be handled.

The motion passed (96.9%).

Paul Wagner addressed previously-tabled motions in the order they were received.

Dan Gangler previously moved that the following be added to the conclusion of Section C.4.f. “The process and deadlines for submitting petitions and resolutions to the Annual Conference session shall be posted on the conference website and by email newsletter at least 160 days before the Annual Conference session.”

The motion passed (92%).

Jason Rice previously moved that a new rule D.4g be added. The Rules and Structure Team recommended a simplification, which Jason previously approved. The new “g” reads: “Any lay member who meets the conference/denominational membership requirements who are currently assigned by a Conference Superintendent or Resident Bishop are eligible to vote at the District Conference where they are assigned to serve.”

Crystal Jacobson, Jimmy Moore, and MaryAnn Moman spoke against this motion. Jason Rice, Stephen Robinson, and Kate Biggs spoke in favor.

The motion passed (57%).

Amy Atkinson previously submitted a motion that the Rules and Structure Team determined violated the Book of Discipline, so she withdrew it.

Amy Land submitted a similar motion that reads “Other provisions and rules notwithstanding, only laity may vote in district conference ballots to endorse laypeople willing to serve as General Conference delegates.”

Shannon Priddy, Albert Hildago and Joseph Easley spoke against the motion. Mike Womack and James Ottjes spoke in favor.

The motion passed 57.7(%).

Episcopal Address
Bishop Trimble shared an impassioned Episcopal Address entitled “Always – A Promise We Should Remember” based on Matthew 28:19-20, during which he encouraged members of the Conference to remember that God is with us always, even in the midst of life’s storms.

Rules and Structure
Paul Wagner spoke to 3 Questions of Rule of Law that John Lomperis had previously submitted. After reviewing the first two, corrections were made in the Rules and Structure document.

In response to his 3rd Question of Rule of Law, a motion was made to add, for clarification, the phrase “for which clergy are entitled to vote under the Book of Discipline in D.4.b and D.4.c.

The motion passed (94.9%).

Children Matter Most
Shannon Stringer addressed the Conference about Children Matter Most, an initiative prompted by Bishop Trimble, First Lady, and the Extended Cabinet. The Children Matter Most Steering Committee extended an invitation to members of the Annual Conference to specifically pray for children. They presented a resolution that will be submitted for a vote of affirmation at the 2021 Annual Conference session.

Representing the Board of Trustees, Teri Crouse moved “that the Annual Conference accept their report as submitted and presented.”

The motion passed (98.2%).

Celebrating Legacy Churches
Rev. Dave Neckers, Dean of the Appointive Cabinet, celebrated the following churches in the Central District that merged in the last year:

– Fortville merged with Gateway
– Horizons of Faith merged with Bethel
– Wesley merged with Bethel

The following churches disbanded in the last year:

– Central District: Whiteland
– Eas Districtt: Bartonia, Eastside (Connersville), Old Franklin
– North Central District: Hillsburg, Kokomo Faith
– North District: Grovertown
– Northwest District: Culver Poplar Grove, Deedsville, Santa Anna
– Southwest District: Rockport First
– West District: Crawfordsfille Trinity

Passing the Conference Cane
The Conference recognized the oldest ordained Elder by presenting the Conference Cane to 98-year-old Chester Mahan.

Blue Ribbon Task Team
Larry Whitehead recognized the members of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, which was tasked to examine the way the Conference is organized and make recommendations moving forward. He presented the Master Plan, including the reduction of 2 Conference Superintendents and 1 Conference Director.

Motion: “that the Blue Ribbon Task Team’s report be approved as presented.”

The motion passed (87.1%).

Paul Wagner presented five resolutions that were submitted to the Annual Conference. The first four resolutions were submitted by Rev. Mark Dicken, who withdrew them because his concerns were already addressed in the Rules and Structure adoption earlier in the session.

The final resolution was submitted by Rev. Riley Case, who also requested to withdrawl his resolution.

Council on Finance & Administration
Vice Chair of the Council on Finance & Administration Chris Lantz gave the Council on Finance & Administration’s report.

Motion: “that the Annual Conference approve the 2021 Annual Conference financial policies, as presented.”

The motion passed (94%).

Ian Hall gave the following financial update:

– INUMC has experienced a significant decline in tithe giving: -9% ($575,000) as of August 2020.
– INUMC received $1,232,685 as part of the Payroll Protection Plan which is expected to be forgiven.
– Department expense lines are currently below the 59% benchmark.

Chris Lantz summarized the proposed 2021 budget, which is broken into two sections:
A) $7M funds the mission and work of the Indiana Conference.
B) $4.3M funds the worldwide ministry of the United Methodist Church.

A + B = C, $11.3M, the total proposed budget for the Conference year 2021.

Shannon Stringer announced that $50,000 has been put toward anti-racism and gave an update on the Conference’s plan for making anti-racism more of a priority.

Motion: “that the Annual Conference approve the 2021 Annual Conference budget, as presented.”

The motion passed (90.7%).

Lisa Schubert Nowling presented a motion: “that develop a strategic plan that demonstrates our commitment to anti-racism and to actively dismantling systemic institutional racism in our Conference by January 31, 2021. I move that the Bishop, Extended Cabinet, Board of Ordained Ministry, and Board of Laity develop a specific plan that includes details of resource allocation, a timeline, and point people assigned to the strategies.”

Shannon Priddy spoke in support of the motion.

The motion passed (75.5%).

Closing Business
Darlene White shared that there were 76 new registrants for the second session of Annual Conference, bringing our total for today to 1,598 registered members.

Bishop Trimble has set the dates of June 10-12 for the 2021 Indiana Annual Conference at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.

2020 AC Summary: August 15

“I’m grateful this year for the gift of technology,” Bishop said as he opened the 2020 Indiana Annual Conference. He encouraged members to fulfill the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:40 that “everything should be done with dignity and in proper order.”

“Beautiful people of the Indiana Conference, let us do this work,” he said.

Darlene White, Conference Secretary, presented the following motions:

Motion: that the voting bar, or legal limits of the Conference, be designated as members registered at the Indiana Wesleyan campus, the regional sites, and those connected through the ZOOM webinar from their homes. The motion passed (99.5%).

Motion: that votes and decisions during the virtual session shall be legal and binding. The motion passed (98.9%).

Motion: that all the reports and presentations posted at be accepted as appropriately presented and ready for action. The motion passed (98.2%).

Motion: that the Conference program as printed or online at, subject to necessary adjustments, shall constitute the official agenda of the 2020 Conference. The motion passed (99.2%).

Rules and Structure
Paul Wagner read two amended areas to the Rules and Structure Document. He then presented the motion: that the Rules and Structure Document be accepted as amended and then added to the record of this Conference session.

Jason Rice proposed that two additional amendments be made. The first was about equalizing lay and clergy members. He proposed the motion: that the Rules and Structure Document be accepted as amended then added to the record of this Conference session.

While waiting for the results of the vote, Chris Lance made a point of order that there was not an opportunity for speeches for/against before the previous vote was taken. Bishop clarified, “Moving forward, there will be that opportunity.”

The motion passed (75.9%).

Jason Rice presented a second motion about voting privileges at District Conferences.

Mitch Gieselman, Conference Superintendent serving the Southwest District, made a motion: that the amendment to the Rules and Structure Document be tabled until the October Annual Conference session for the sake of time.

Paul Wagner declared that the motion required a majority vote. The motion passed (63.4%).

Paul Wagner then presented the motion: that the Rules and Structure document be accepted as amended and then added to the record of this Conference session. The motion passed (89.2%).

Consent Calendar
Paul Wagner made the motion: that the Board, Agency, and Committee Reports listed on the Conference website under the heading “Consent Calendar” be accepted and added to the record of this Conference session. The motion passed (96.8%).

Laity Address
David Johns, Conference Lay Leader, challenged the Conference with the question: Why are you here? “How do we treat the people we encounter? Jesus’ expectation of us is that we’re different than the rest of the world. We’re here to bring help and hope,” he said.

United Methodist Foundation of Indiana, Inc.
Manet Shettle made the motion: that the Annual Conference affirm the slate for the Board of Directors of the United Methodist Foundation of Indiana, Inc. She presented the Class of 2020-2023: John Clay, Shalimar Holderly, Larry Price, Lee White. The motion passed (98.5%).

Board of Pension and Health Benefits
Susan Spaulding announced that Wespath will cover 100% of COVID treatment through the end of 2020, even if a deductible has not been met. And that churches will be receiving a refund because of decreased medical expenses thanks to digital consultations. She made the motion: that the report, including raising the Past Service Rate for years pre-1982, be approved as presented. The motion passed (96.6%).

Council on Finance and Administration
Rodney Frieden explained that the 2021 budget wasn’t ready to present. “We’re dealing with and juggling unknowns day to day and week to week and month to month,” he said. The 2021 budget will be prepared and shared prior to the October Annual Conference session.

Emerging Leaders
As Emily Krach opened the Emerging Leaders report she shared, “This is a reminder that we need to listen and be present with young people,” referring to featured speaker Meadow Mertz.

Meadow shared about her family’s apartment fire and how she had to transfer schools. “I started to have a lack of faith because I thought God no longer loved me,” she said. After attempting suicide, Meadow ended up at Parkview Behavioral Health, where she “never felt closer to God.” She reminded members that many young people have a story as well. “I challenge you to listen to the stories of younger people.”

Charter Recognition
Emily Reece, Director of Church Development, presented two newly-chartered churches:

– Disciples Korean UMC (West Lafayette) – January 2020
– Abundant Vida Nueva UMC (Indianapolis) – December 2019

A point of order was made: an objection of a procedure by Bishop Trimble. During the Rules and Structure conversation, a motion was made by Mitch Gieselman to table the proposed Jason Rice amendment, though multiple amendments had been received.

Bishop Trimble responded that he made the decision because it is his responsibility to “care for the business before us.”

Chris Gadlage at the microphone made a point of order: “Allowing a presider who does not have authority to expand the scope of a motion sets a dangerous precedent for whoever sits in that chair.”

Aleze Fulbright, Conference Superintendent in the Central and West Districts, spoke against the objection of the procedure. “Your rationale was clear,” she said to Bishop Trimble. “We’re trying to present a virtual Annual Conference. You saved us time; we heard important information, and we celebrated the work of the Church.”

The question was presented to the body: Shall the ruling of the Bishop be upheld? Bishop’s ruling was upheld (77.1%).

Phil Amerson made a motion: that the Committee on Finance and Administration set aside 10% of the 2021 budget for anti-racism work. Bishop referred this motion to the Committee on Finance and Administration to consider before it’s brought back before the Conference.

Children Matter Most
Emily Krach presented one of our Missional Offerings: Children Matter Most, an initiative that began because of startling statistics:

– Indiana has the 2nd highest in infant mortality rates in the midwest.
– Indiana has the highest rate in the country of teens who have considered suicide and the second-highest of those who have attempted it.
– Compared to neighboring states, Indiana has the highest rates of children in the foster care system.

The Children Matter Most Team’s goal is to inspire churches to partner with schools, inform others about adverse childhood experiences, and invite children to camp.

“Children Matter Most: We must live this out based on the realities around us!” Emily said.

Closing Business
Darlene White shared some closing business:

– A reminder of the Celebration of Ministry service at 2:00 pm
– A reminder of the next Annual Conference session on October 10. (Registration opens August 29.)
– Missional Offerings gathered to this point:
– Stuff the Bus $1,375
– Children Matter Most $700
– The Cabinet Emergency Fund $520

Dave Neckers offered a closing prayer.


Retiree Recognition
Bishop welcomed members with a greeting and prayer. Rev. Bryan Langdoc, Rev. Mary Dicken, Bill Hamm, Rick Provine, and Steve Snyder offered And Can It Be (Amazing Love) as a musical response.

Fifty-seven retirees were honored for their 1,705 years of combined service. Rev. Cheryl Garbe addressed members as a representative of the retiring class.

Cheryl interviewed some former retirees and shared a few of their words of wisdom for the Retiring Class of 2020:

– “Retirement is a time to let go of that which has served you so well in the past to make room for that which will serve you so well in the future.”
– “Travel as much as you can for as long as you can.”
– “Give yourself a sabbath from ministry.”

To ordinands, she offered the following gems of wisdom, among others:

– “Surround yourself with the best people you can find.”
– “Be the best possible you.”
– “The size of a church is not an indicator of the size of their success.”

Presentation of Persons to be Commissioned, Recognized as Associate Members and Ordained
Four persons were commissioned for the work of deacon. Nine persons were commissioned for the work of Elder. Two were recognized as Associate Members. One person was ordained into the Order of Deacon. Twelve were ordained into the Order of Elder.

Bishop Trimble offered his message “Climbing our Second Mountain” without wearing his shoes, though he donned his United Methodist socks. “Where God’s name is proclaimed and Christ is lifted as our Lord and Savior is holy ground,” he said.

Bishop referenced David Brooks’ book, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life, as he defined a “second mountain:” people who radiate joy and clarity of purpose. He encouraged members to live that way. “We can choose joy. We can choose justice. We can choose life with Jesus!”