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2015 Florida Conference

The Florida Annual Conference was held at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. The dates were June 10-13, 2015.

Presiding bishop: Kenneth H. Carter Jr.

Guest speaker: The Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor, Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas

Memorable quote from the Rev. Adam Hamilton regarding the early days of founding the Church of the Resurrection:

“I was trying to be Super Pastor, with my cape on. … I needed lay people to be equipped and inspired. We needed to unleash the power of the laity.”

Five resolutions were adopted

  1. A request that the Federal Communications Commission limit the advertising of sexually oriented products. The request will be sent electronically and by U.S. Postal Service to the FCC, and Florida Conference members are encouraged to write in support of the request to the FCC, local television stations and cable and satellite providers.
  2. Support of the human rights of Florida farmworkers. The Florida Conference calls on Publix Super Markets and Wendy’s restaurants to join the Fair Food Program developed by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers of Southwest Florida.
  3. Encouragement of a just resolution process Instead of church trials for resolving complaints against ordained pastors who officiate at same-sex weddings or congregations that host them.
  4. Resolution in support of unborn children and expectant mothers. After discussion, voting members approved a resolution substantially amended from the original proposal. The amended resolution calls for the conference to encourage use of appropriate birth control, facilitation of adoption, support for crisis pregnancy centers and affirmation of the sanctity of life of the unborn child as well as the safety of the expectant mother.
  5. Resolution calling for stronger local church support of Creation Care ministries. Churches are to have committees that adopt creation care practices and plan ways to implement them in all areas of ministry and mission.

Elections

The Florida Conference elected a total of 50 delegates for 2016, including nine lay and nine clergy delegates to General Conference, nine in each category to represent Florida at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference and seven alternates each from laity and clergy.

General Conference delegates elected:

Lay delegates:

Molly McEntire*
Derrick Scott III*
Alice Williams
Mickey Wilson
Russ Graves
Jeremy Hearn*
Rachael Sumner*
Carlene Fogle-Miller*
Janet Earls

*Younger than 40.

Clergy delegates:

Sue Haupert-Johnson
Alex Shanks*
Rinaldo “Rini” Hernandez
Dionne Chandler Hammond
Harold Lewis Sr.
David Dodge
Cynthia Weems
Jacqueline Leveron
Sharon Austin

*Younger than 40.

Jurisdictional Conference delegates elected:

Lay delegates:

Tiffania Icaza Willetts*
Alexia Michelle Valle Velez*
Martha Gay Duncan
Marie Anne Pierre-Louis
Paulette Monroe
Rod Groom
Joyce Waldon Bright
Rodney Akers
Benjamin Spangler*

*Younger than 30.

Clergy delegates:

Joanes Martin
Geraldine McClellan
David Allen 
W. David McEntire
Audrey Warren*
Jay Therrell
Bob Bushong
Armando Rodriguez Jr.
Kevin James

*Younger than 40.

Alternates elected

Lay: Rushing Kimball, Kelly Minter, Walter Dry, Brittany Erin Cott, Frances Jennings, Michael Reed Coffey and Gary Sanders

Clergy: Vicki Walker, Wayne Wiatt, Catherine Fluck Price, Melissa Cooper, Jamie Westlake, Annette Stiles Pendergrass and Joe MacLaren

Ordination

A total of 47 elders, deacons and local pastors were ordained, commissioned or licensed, with an average age of 40.

Here is the breakdown: elders in full connection, nine; deacons in full connection, two; provisional elders, 12; one provisional deacon; and 23 local pastors.

Membership

Current membership is 253,000, down from 262,000 last year. Current worship attendance is 132,000, compared with 135,000 last year. Sunday school attendance is listed at 35,813, compared with last year’s 37,780.

Susan Green, managing editor for the Florida Conference