Good morning! We will begin this first full day of Annual Conference with morning worship and Holy Communion. Our celebrants will be the Rev. Jonathan Jonas of First Marion United Methodist Church and the Rev. Sarah Varnell of Church Street United Methodist Church.
The 9:15 a.m. session will include the blessing of several thousand hands-on mission kits for people in Zimbabwe and Liberia. An annual project, Holston churches have been collecting these food, health and school supplies for weeks and often double or even triple their own goals.
Jack Ewing will speak on Lake Junaluska's 100th anniversary and special events planned in celebration. Bishop Ivan Abrahams, general secretary of the World Methodist Council, will greet the Annual Conference just before a morning break.
At 10:15, the first of three teaching sessions will be led by Alice Williams, lay leader of the East Central District of the Florida Conference. Williams brings her 28-year career experience at The Walt Disney Company to speak on "appreciative inquiry": asking the right questions to meet the needs of our communities. Accompanying Williams is her pastor, the Rev. Jennifer Stiles Williams of St. Luke's UMC in Orlando, who will share how appreciative inquiry has helped their church.
After Williams' presentation, the Annual Conference will vote on four Constitutional Amendments. Each amendment was adopted by the 2012 General Conference and are printed on pages 173-176 of the "Book of Reports."
During the noon to 2 p.m. lunch session, the Council on Finance and Administration will host a budget "chat room" in Terrace Auditorium, 2nd floor. The 2014 budget was presented this morning; the chat room provides an opportunity to ask follow-up questions. The 2014 proposed budget is $10.2 million. Details are published on pages 83-110 in the "Book of Reports."
At 2 p.m., the Rev. Bill Kilday, retired clergy from the Oak Ridge District, will preach for the Memorial Service. Music will be provided by the Vine Praise Band of First-Centenary UMC, Chattanooga District. (Download "Worship Book.")
The service will include a special banner with bells representing 43 lives remembered. Carrying the banner will be two members of the Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM): Andrew McElroy, age 16, of Wesley Memorial UMC in Johnson City District, and Sam England, age 17, of Seymour UMC in Maryville District.
Following worship, Alice Williams will return with her second teaching session at 3:30 p.m.
Tonight the schedule will be business-focused. At least two resolutions will be presented for the Annual Conference's consideration: (1) a proposal to extend the Imagine No Malaria campaign through the end of 2013, and (2) a request for local churches to conduct annual accessibility audits. The resolutions are printed on pages 171-172 of the "Book of Reports."
After a presentation by Del Holley, conference lay leader, the Annual Conference will finish the evening on a high note by recognizing 13 new local pastors.