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2007 Holston Annual Conference

June 10-13, 2007, Lake Junaluska, N.C.

The Holston Annual Conference raised $106,621 for mission work in Brazil, sent 6,300 supply kits to Liberia and Zimbabwe, and adopted a domestic-violence ministry during four hard-working days in western North Carolina.

The theme was "Boldly, Passionately, Joyfully Making Disciples of Christ," based on a vision statement adopted by the 2006 conference. Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. presided over the meeting of 1,114 clergy and 921 lay members representing 910 churches in east Tennessee, southwest Virginia and north Georgia.

The annual conference addressed 10 resolutions, including one requiring domestic-violence education for clergy and establishing advocacy and policies for congregations.

"The deafening and disabling silence that has surrounded the abuse of women, children, youth and elders is being broken," the adopted resolution states.

Bishop Paulo Lockmann, resident bishop of the Rio Conference of the Methodist Church of Brazil, preached at a service that included an offering for two Brazilian ministries: Evangemed and the School of Missions. In addition to the $106,621 raised for Brazil, members gave $50,125 for children's ministries in the Holston Conference and in Africa. Following opening night music by the Latvian United Methodist Youth Choir, members gave a love offering of $4,547.

The annual "hands-on mission project" was celebrated with applause and cheering as Holston's 12 districts more than doubled their goals for supplies donated to schools in Liberia and Ishe Anesu in Zimbabwe. More than 6,300 kits containing food, clothing, health and school supplies were loaded into two tractor-trailer trucks and dispatched to Africa, with Bishop Swanson's prayer for safe passage.

In other actions, the conference:

  • Approved a resolution requesting the Outreach/Advocacy Ministry Team to study the social costs versus the social benefits of the Tennessee state lottery;
  • Approveda resolution "calling for the United Methodist Church to withdraw from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice." The resolution states that theRCRC "is dedicated to defending and expanding abortion rights," while the Book of Discipline supports "the sanctity of unborn human life";
  • Referred back three resolutions to the originating groups for submission as petitions to the 2008 General Conference: "Resolution Affirming the Position of the United Methodist Church on Marriage Between a Man and Woman, and the Practice of Homosexuality as Being Incompatible with Christian Teaching," "Resolution on Ordination of Practicing Homosexuals," and "Resolution on Church Membership by the Holy Bible and the United Methodist Book of Discipline";
  • Approved two resolutions related to young adults. One calls for the inclusion of at least one young adult on all local, district and conference teams; the other supports efforts to increase the age range of young adults as defined in the Book of Discipline to 18-35 years of age;
  • Approved a 2008 budget of $15.7 million-a 1.96 percent increase over 2007-and a new plan converting Holston's 559 retirees to a Medicare supplement program for health insurance with a Medicare Part D prescription drug program.

In other activities:

  • Members collected 442 jars of peanut butter for Haywood Christian Ministries of western North Carolina in a drive sponsored by the Young Adult Ministry Team;
  • The Francis Asbury Award for higher education was presented to the Rev. Bob Parrott, who served the Wesley Foundation at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, from 1964 to 1993;
  • Bishop Clay Lee, who served as Holston's resident bishop from 1988 to 1996, preached at a celebration for 16 retiring clergy and a commissioning service for nine probationary elders and one deacon;
  • Bishop Robert Hayes, resident bishop for the Oklahoma Annual Conference, preached at a service of ordination including 21 full-connection elders, one full-connection deacon and three deacons in associate membership;
  • Bishop James Swanson preached at a Sending Forth Service recognizing 25 new local pastors.

Lay delegates elected to the 2008 General Conference are: Bob Lockaby of Harrison, Tenn.; Casey Graves of Ooltewah, Tenn.; Del Holley of Knoxville, Tenn.; Anne Travis of Knoxville, Tenn.; Jean Henderson of Cleveland, Tenn.; Joyce Moore of Bluff City, Tenn.; and Paul Brown of Johnson City, Tenn.

Clergy delegates elected to the General Conference are: H. Eddie Fox of Nashville, Tenn.; Al Bowles of Chattanooga, Tenn.; Carol Wilson of Maryville, Tenn.; W. Randall Frye of Johnson City, Tenn.; Dennie Humphreys of Chattanooga, Tenn.; Kim Goddard, of Abingdon, Va.; and Jerry Russell of Maryville, Tenn.

Lay delegates elected to Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference are: Becky Hall of Chattanooga, Tenn.; Ginny West Case of Maryville, Tenn.; Teddy Stevens of Piney Flats, Tenn.; Matthew Park of Cleveland, Tenn.; Steve Hodges of Sneedville, Tenn.; Jay Garrison of Knoxville, Tenn.; and James Ferguson of Knoxville, Tenn.

Clergy delegates elected to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference are: Angela Hardy Cross of Kingsport, Tenn.; Stella Roberts of Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Charles Lippse, of Chattanooga, Tenn.; Mark Flynn of Chattanooga, Tenn.; Jonathan Jonas of Knoxville, Tenn.; Lynn Hutton of Knoxville, Tenn.; and Nathan Malone of Hixson, Tenn.

Membership stands at 166,815, down 525 from the previous year. Average worship attendance stands at 73,956, down 844 from the previous year.

-Annette Spence