The Friday afternoon plenary sessions began with a moment to recognize our retirees. Those going into retirement this year served a combined 1,271 years in the United Methodist Church.
Extended Cabinet Report
Rev. Beverly Perry, Conference Superintendent serving the Southeast District and Dr. Aleze Fulbright, Director of Leadership Development, presented the Extended Cabinet Report and shared about the desire and goal for our conference to become more missional in mindset.
“Being missional” means being engaged in life-giving changes for Jesus Christ in
my mission field,“ said Rev. Beverly Perry.
In order to address this goal, the Extended Cabinet put forth a survey to members of the Indiana Conference, clergy and laity alike.
The survey determined, that there is a disconnect between what it means to be missional and be engaged in our communities. Perry and Fulbright shared examples from across Indiana of what is looks like to be engaged in mission in our communities. Perry and Fulbright also shared the commitment of the Extended Cabinet to; live out their ministry and personal lives missionally, make appointments missionally, ask and answer questions missionally, conduct the business of the Conference missionally, align the resources of the Conference missionally.
Doris Clark, Conference Lay Leader, presented the Laity Address along with Debbie Neyhouse, David Johns, and Scott Reed. Each presented and celebrated ways the laity of the Indiana Conference work together in different capacities to achieve our mission of ‘making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world’. During the address, Scott Reed announced that, currently, more than 900 backpacks were collected to be given to those experiencing homelessness around Indiana.
Miracle Offering Celebration
Members of the Indiana Conference came together to bring an offering from themselves and their congregations for the Indiana Miracle Offering for Global Health. On April 7, Bishop Julius C. Trimble called for the Indiana Miracle Offering for Global Health to be received at the 2017 Annual Conference session. United Methodists in Indiana too time Friday to celebrate this miraculous expression of God's love in action as $391, 961.28 was raised to impact thousands of lives around our world this year affected by HIV/AIDS and malaria.
The time of offering began with song and worship. The celebration continued as the offering was collected by those serving on our Extended Cabinet.
Leadership Development Report
Dr. Aleze Fulbright, Emily Krach, and Matthew Leffler presented the Leadership Development report. Fulbright, Director of Leadership Development stated that the team seeks to discover, develop, and deploy fruitful leaders, lay and clergy, to accomplish the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. A video was shown that demonstrated examples of discovering emerging leaders, developing principled Christian leaders, and deploying those leaders.
Rev. Matthew Leffler presented The Called to Fruitfulness Initiative, which launched in 2015 for Elders and Deacons to celebrate a five-year anniversary interval of Full Connection. This year, 10 clergypersons are celebrating a milestone anniversary and 42 clergypersons chose to journey over an 8-month period to be resourced for more fruitful ministry.
Emily Krach, Associate Director of Leadership Development – Emerging Leaders presented The Francis Asbury Award to the Wesley Foundation at Purdue University. The Francis Asbury Award offers recognition to individuals who have made a significant contribution to fostering the church's ministries in higher education at the local, district, or annual conference level of the church.
Church Development Report
Steve Clouse, Director of Church Development, and Emily Reece, Associate Director of Church Development, presented the report on behalf of Church Development. During the report, the Indiana annual conference recognized and chartered The Garden United Methodist Church, pastor Carolyn Scanlan-Holmes.
Following the Church Development report the Conference picked up on a resolution from Thursday. Resolution #2 titled “ Help end suicide and homelessness among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. After much discussion for both for and against, an amendment was offered from the floor which was followed by an amendment to that amendment. The first amendment stated a change to the wording to include all youth and the amendment to that amendment offered the opportunity to recognize that LGBTQ persons do face separate challenges. The amended amendment passed.
Resolution #3 which called for new elections for Special General Conference Session was presented but did not pass.
Building Discipleship Centers Simulcast
The Indiana Conference celebrated the groundbreaking of the Bishop Mike and Marsha Coyner Discipleship Center at Epworth Forest. The groundbreaking was simulcasted from Epworth Forest in North Webster to the Indiana Annual Conference Session in Indianapolis. Former Indiana bishop, Michael J. Coyner, now retired, brought greetings to the Indiana Conference and made introductions prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Mission and Justice Ministries Report
The Mission and Justice Ministries Report was presented by Allison Curts, Associate Director of Missions and Justice Ministries. Curts took a moment to introduce Tom Heaton, a new staff member serving with Allison as the Associate Director of Missions and Justice Ministries. Curts mentioned a Love Your Neighbor Toolkit that is available at their booth. Rev. Steve Newnum was acknowledged as a missionary to Brazil as the conference celebrated his retirement.
United Methodist Foundation Report
Manet Shettle presented the report for the United Methodist Foundation. Shettle reported that the Untied Methodist Foundation gives $187,089 to the Conference for support of health insurance for the retired ministers of our Conference. Shettle presented the Conference with a check in that amount. Following the check presentation, Shettle moved to approve the covenant between the Indiana Annual Conference and the UM Foundation to which the Board of Directors approved.
Following the report from the United Methodist Foundation, a motion was brought forth that for those planning the 2018 Annual Conference, significant and adequate enough time be allowed to do the “work” of the annual conference. The motion passed.
Board of Pension and Health Benefits Report
Rev. Michelle Knight gave the Board of Pension and Health Benefits report and stated that the pension matching programs of the Conference added approximately $938,000 to participant accounts in 2017. Knight also mentioned that in 2018, there is an average of 4% increase across all the plans. Knight shared about the Compassion Fund which assists the most vulnerable of retired clergy.
2018 Annual Conference Budget
Following the Board of Pension and Health Benefits report, Ian Hall, Ron Frieden, and Brian Williams presented the Council on Finance and Administration report which included the 2018 Annual Conference budget. The budget was approved.
2018 Annual Conference Dates Set
The 2018 Annual Conference Session will be held in Indianapolis, June 7-9.