David Graves (leader), Kim Goddard, Sandra Johnson
Del Holley, Emily Ballard, Becky Hall, John Tate, Robert Lockaby
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (June 10, 2015) -- Here are yesterday's highlights from the Holston Annual Conference:
> Sixty-one runners and 110 walkers participated in the morning 5K Run/1-Mile Walk, a benefit for local children in poverty. Winners were the Rev. Wil Cantrell and the Rev. Nicole Hill Krewson. (See photos on Facebook.)
> The Francis Asbury Award for a leader in higher education was presented to the Rev. Sam Roberts, a teacher at Tennessee Wesleyan College since 1986.
>The Denman Evangelism Award was presented to David Goodman (youth), Trinity UMC, Big Stone Gap District; Marcy Hall (lay member), East Ridge UMC, Chattanooga District; and the Rev. Kristen Burkhart, Mt. Zion UMC, Morristown District.
> Twenty-seven retiring clergy were recognized with music from the Wesley House Gospel Choir. The Rev. Stella Roberts “passed the mantle” to the Rev. Ashley Helton. “This is such a tender moment,” Bishop Dindy Taylor said. “But these persons behind me are not really retiring. All they’re retiring from is the ability of a bishop to tell them where to go.”
> The Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) proposed a $9.7 million budget for 2016, reflecting a 10 percent across-the-board cut in the requested budget. The conference experienced a $600,000 shortfall in the 2014 budget, and the 2015 budget is predicted to have a $1 million shortfall, CFA officials said. The CFA hosted an evening question-and-answer session in preparation for today’s vote on the proposed 2016 budget.
> The Rev. Randy Pasqua, executive director of Camp and Retreat Ministries, introduced new directors for two of Holston’s four camps: Tony Lea of Wesley Woods, effective in March, and the Rev. Jeff Wadley of Buffalo Mountain, effective in July. Wadley noted that while other conferences are closing their camps, Holston is buying land and building a new camp in Kingsport, Tenn., three years after a flood destroyed Buffalo Mountain Camp in Jonesborough, Tenn.
> Bishop Dindy Taylor commissioned Bert “Wildcat” Emmerson as this year’s Appalachian Trail chaplain. Emmerson, a member at First United Methodist Church of Maryville, will depart July 15 and hike 2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia while ministering to other hikers. “I don’t know if I’ve ever commissioned a ‘wildcat’ before,” Bishop Taylor said.
> In the Cabinet Report, the Rev. Charles Maynard said that Holston must align its structures and staff to fullfill its mission. “In the coming years it will be critical to adjust district boundaries and conference personnel to match changing populations and financial conditions,” he said.
> Twenty-two new local pastors were licensed and recognized by Bishop Taylor and the Annual Conference. The local pastors represented 11 of Holston’s 12 districts.
> The Rev. Tony Collins of the Hispanic Ministry Team said that a $75,000 matching grant, received over three years from the National Consultation on Hispanic/Latino Ministry, will be used for leadership development, youth ministry, justice and advocacy. He recognized the Rev. Arturo Reyna and the Rev. Susana Lopez, recent college graduates preparing for seminary.
> The Annual Conference was introduced to and encouraged to nominate persons for “Defining Moments,” a program developed by Emory & Henry College in partnership with the Holston Board of Ordained Ministry and Conference Council on Youth Ministry. Its purpose is to nurture young people discerning a call to ministry. Visit DiscernMyCall.com for more information.
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newsletter.