As Chair of the Episcopacy Committee, I apologize to my fellow Annual Conference members. I did not submit a committee report (or, at least, a "heads up") for the 2011 Book of Reports concerning the sale of the Episcopal residence.
This Episcopal residence proposal results from conversations between the conference Board of Trustees and the Episcopacy Committee (Paragraph 638). The proposal has been discussed for several months, and the urgency comes as we prepare to receive a new resident bishop in September 2012.
Many of the questions, comments, and concerns raised on the floor of the Annual Conference on June 14 are identical to those raised by your Episcopacy Committee. They should have been provided in a pre-conference report. The trustees have worked and are working to address concerns and answer questions.
The Episcopal residence has had several maintenance issues over the years. The cost of upkeep is a concern, as well as the residence's 16-mile distance from its Knoxville location to the bishop's Alcoa office. The concern is not just for our bishop’s convenience but also for visiting church leaders who fly in to McGhee-Tyson Airport and stay as guests in the Episcopal residence.
Because it is the responsibility of conference staff to evaluate cost of repairs and maintenance -- and to report that information to the trustees before approving any repair -- it also makes economic and practical sense to maintain the Episcopal residence near the conference office in the Maryville/Alcoa area.
The Holston Conference Committee on Episcopacy supports the recommendation from the Board of Trustees for the residence to be sold, followed by purchasing or building a new home. The committee believes this is the most faithful action in being good stewards of the property. We are thankful the trustees can now proceed with this very important work.
Trust me; you’ll get a very lengthy report in 2012!
The Rev. Nance is chair of the Episcopacy Committee and senior pastor at Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church, Oak Ridge District.