LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (June 13, 2018) -- The Mission Celebration concluded with energetic music and message last night after a busy day of discussion and decisions.
The Rev. Fred Dearing and Libby Dearing shared updates and hope for “our South Sudanese brothers and sisters living in exile” in Uganda. The offering that followed will aid in the continued support of 36 orphans and staff in Holston’s care.
At 9 p.m. last night, the offering total was $104,884, according to Rick Cherry, conference treasurer.
The Rev. Mark Hicks, Holston’s next missionary serving in the Czech Republic, was blessed and sent by Bishop Dindy Taylor. Currently appointed as associate pastor at State Street UMC in Bristol, Virginia, Hicks will depart for Prague in December 2018, following the Rev. John Redmond.
The Rev. Nancy Robinson, staff for the General Board of Global Ministries, presented a plaque to Bishop Taylor, celebrating Holston’s place in the top 10 of annual conferences in giving to UMCOR.
Other Tuesday news:
> The Annual Conference voted not to purchase The Connexion facility in Sevierville. The number of ballots received was 771 against the purchase, 348 in favor, and 2 abstentions.
> The Change for Children offering totaled $55,327 by 9 p.m. last night, providing future grants for children’s ministries in Holston Conference and in Africa.
> Minta “Blueberry” Ray was commissioned by Bishop Taylor as Holston’s first female Appalachian Trail chaplain. The Rev. Matt “Trigger” Hall, 2017 and fifth chaplain, “passed the pack” to Ray, who is age 22 and a member at Cokesbury UMC in Knoxville.
> Corrina Sisk-Casson from the Three Rivers District was commissioned as a Deaconess, following her consecration in May during the United Methodist Women’s Assembly in Ohio.
> Twenty-four retiring clergy were recognized. The Rev. Joe Green “passed the mantle” to the Rev. Teresa Atkins McClure.
> The resolution, “Equality Through Love,” was substituted with a motion calling for the Holston delegation to study the upcoming Council of Bishops report and legislation and set up listening stations prior to the special General Conference in 2019.* The Annual Conference approved the motion. (“Equality Through Love” resolution is printed on page 233 of “Book of Reports.” )
> In the “New Business” session, a motion to change current restrictions and guidelines for the “New Business” session was referred to the Committee on Rules and Order and to the Annual Conference Planning Committee.
> In the “New Business” session, a motion to affirm the current Book of Discipline paragraphs related to human sexuality was tabled.
> In the “New Business” session, a motion to provide funding for nationwide searches to hire Wesley Foundation directors was referred to the Council on Finance and Administration.
> The Annual Conference approved a $9.25 million budget for 2019, which includes paying 100 percent of Holston’s apportionment to the general church.
> The Board of Pensions and Health Benefits report was approved, setting 2019 rates for the local-church direct invoice for health insurance at $844 per month.
> The Commission on Equitable Compensation report was approved, setting a 2 percent increase for minimum salary levels for clergy in 2019.
> Winners of the 5K race were the Rev. Robert Kariuki, pastor at John Wesley/ Charles Wesley UMC, Clinch Mountain District; and the Rev. Nancy Twigg, associate pastor at Ebenezer UMC, Smoky Mountain District. Eighty-seven runners and walkers were registered for the 7:15 a.m. race.
> The Annual Conference approved resolutions for closing St. Andrews UMC in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Bascom UMC in Lebanon, Virginia.
> The Board of Ordained Ministry presented licenses to 15 new local pastors. The Rev. Mickey Rainwater, chair, also announced that -- after the absence of a class of elder ordinands in 2017, due to the move from a two-year provisional period to a three-year period – 12 are projected for full clergy members and ordination during Wednesday’s service.
> Holston Conference applied for a Young Clergy Initiative Grant and was accepted. Rainwater said the Board of Ordained Ministry is waiting for further details about the grant.
> The Board of Trustees reported that the Alcoa Conference Center had been refinanced with a 13-year loan at a fixed rate of 5.025 percent in February 2018, fulfilling the $1 million balloon payment that was due on the building.
> The Committee on Nominations report was approved. For an updated report with additions and corrections, visit AC.Holston.org.
> Annual Conference 2019 is scheduled June 9-12 at Lake Junaluska, N.C.
* The Council of Bishops report and legislation are due July 8. Watch for the release of the report from United Methodist News Service at UMNS.UMC.org or in The Call.
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.