Annual Conference works through resolutions, eats ice cream, runs race

Annual Conference works through resolutions, eats ice cream, runs race

The Rev. Teanna Black speaks on the "moratorium on church trials" resolution. Photo by Buzz Trexler

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. -- Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett got up early yesterday and decided she would join the 1-mile walk for South Sudan. She put on her sneakers and headed down to Stuart Auditorium where 38 other participants were waiting for the 7:15 a.m. start time.
Bishop Wallace-Padgett and Vicki Malone
run the 5K. Photo by Melissa Malcolm

When she got there, she realized there wasn’t much time before opening worship. “I better run this instead of walk,” she said to herself. And that is how the resident bishop of Holston ended up in the 5K race on Tuesday morning of Annual Conference.

“It’s a good idea and a good way to raise money for mission,” she told The Call

Running ahead of her were the winners of the race: the Rev. Wil Cantrell (male) and Rebekah Berg (female). Berg will turn 12 years old on Friday.

Shortly after the run and walk around the lake, the Rev. Tom Albin returned to the Stuart Auditorium stage for the second time this week to teach the Annual Conference about prayer.

“Prayer is lifting your heart to God,” said Albin, author and retired dean of The Upper Room Chapel. “You don’t have to say words at all.”
Bishop Swanson prays for preachers. Photo
by Ben Smith

Bishop James Swanson spoke for the second night during the June 5-8 Holston Annual Conference, preaching at evening worship on Deuteronomy 33:1-3, 25-29, "Lest You Forget." He asked preachers in attendance to come to the front for prayer.

"I want to say a special word to the preachers tonight, just a special word. You are the shepherd. You set the tone. If you are skittish, your people are going to be skittish. If you are on fire, they can't shake your hand without getting burned."

Actions of the day:

> The Annual  Conference celebrated offerings of $51,303 for mission in South Sudan and $25,118 for Change for Children. The latter will support children’s ministry locally and overseas.

Left to right: Bishop Wallace-Padgett, Rev. 
Timothy Hale, Rev. Rusty Taylor in the
"Retirement Recognition." Photo by Scott Hughes
> Seventy-four clergy retirees from the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 were recognized with prayers and hymns in the morning, followed by an ice cream social after lunch. The Rev. Rusty Taylor "passed the mantle" to the Rev. Timothy Hale, ordinand. (For retirees’ names, see page 61-89 in the Worship Book.)

> The Children’s Ministry Team, led by Melia Warren, presented a new initiative, Cultivate Faith, inviting parents to partner with churches to teach their children about faith.

> For morning worship, music was shared by the Rev. Willie Kitchens and the praise team from Bethlehem-Wiley United Methodist Church and Christ United Methodist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. For evening worship, music was shared by the Fairview United Methodist Church Choir and Praise Band from Maryville, Tennessee.

> A 2023 budget of $8.89 million, proposed by the Council on Finance and Administration, was approved by vote.

> The Annual Conference adopted a motion from the Rev. Todd Chancey requiring finance leaders to report the estimated unfunded pension liabilities for the Annual Conference. The vote was 346 to 238. By July 8, the estimated amount and each church’s responsibility is required to be posted on the conference website.
Melia Warren announces launch of
"Cultivate Faith." Photo by Scott Hughes

> The Committee on Rules and Order proposed that all conference committees be required to include membership of at least 5% persons of color -- an amendment to the previous day's motion by Ginny West Case calling for at least 33% to 50% persons of color on every conference team. After a 30-minute discussion with nine speakers, the Annual Conference voted to approve the 5% amendment, before Case proposed an amendment "striking 5% and replacing it with 20%." The Committee on Rules and Order, led by the Rev. Brad Scott, will review the motion and return it to the floor Wednesday for debate and vote. 
Carolyn Haerr enjoys the Ice Cream Social. 

> During the “New Business” session, the Rev. John Grimm offered a motion to request a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council regarding the constitutionality of the postponement of the 2020 General Conference. Bishop Wallace-Padgett ruled that the request was not in order because it did not meet the requirements of the Book of Discipline for requesting such a decision. Grimm’s motion to then appeal the bishop’s ruling to the Judicial Council failed to receive the required 1/5 vote in support and was not approved.

Danny Tullier speaks for a resolution.
Photo by Buzz Trexler
> The Annual Conference voted to adopt the resolution, “Moratorium on Church Trials in Holston Conference.” (See page 155-157 in the “Book of Reports.”) After a 40-minute discussion with 11 speakers, the vote was 361 in favor, 323 against. During the discussion, Bishop Wallace-Padgett responded to a question by answering, “Here in Holston, we will continue to uphold our Book of Discipline. We will do it with grace. We will do it prayerfully.”

> The Annual Conference voted against “A Resolution Encouraging Discernment,” encouraging General Conference delegates “to prayerfully discern how they may support legislation that removes discriminatory language and the restrictions and penalties in the Discipline regarding ministry of and with LGBTQ persons.” (See 158-160 in “Book of Reports.") 

> Five of 14 resolutions in the “Book of Reports" were withdrawn, including #3, #4, #5, #10, and #11. Remaining resolutions not addressed by the Annual Conference will be referred to related committees. (See pages 155-189 in the “Book of Reports” for all resolutions.)

To be included in the wrap-up report: Information from the Board of Ordained Ministry, Board of Trustees, Board of Pensions, Board of Higher Education, and United Women in Faith.

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Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newsletter.

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