The 906 churches of the Holston Annual Conference have now raised $178,921 for its partnership mission in southern Sudan and $60,011 for children’s ministry, for a total $238,933 in record-breaking offerings during the 2008 annual conference session.
The Sudan offering exceeded a $125,000 goal to build a school and clinic, while the "Change for the Children" offering was the conference's highest ever, topping the 2007 Change for Children offering by $10,000. In addition, the United Methodist churches of east Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and north Georgia sent 7,200 supply kits to Liberia and Zimbabwe, surpassing the 2007 total of 6,300.
The conference theme was "Offer Them Christ," and members were urged to return to their Wesleyan roots and preach the gospel to break a long cycle of declining membership. Each of the 1,107 clergy and 892 lay members received the book, Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living, by United Methodist Bishop Rueben P. Job. Three worship services centered on the three rules, with sermons titled "Do No Harm" and "Do Good" presented by guest Bishop Larry Goodpaster of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., resident bishop and presiding bishop, delivered the sending forth message, "Stay in Love With God." Read the complete UMNS wrap-up report