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2007 Kentucky Annual Conference

June 10-14, 2007, Louisville

The Kentucky Annual Conference met under the leadership of Bishop James R. King Jr. The focus for this year's conference was "Never Alone" with an emphasis on small groups and worship.

Bishop Michael Watson from the South Georgia Annual Conference gave the sermon at the service of commissioning and ordination. Bishop King ordained five elders and one deacon and commissioned five others. Thirteen clergy retired, and 20 pastors were honored at a service of remembrance. During the clergy session, selected clergy were invited to share what it means to be "never alone," in keeping with the conference theme.

Bishop Zothan Mawia of the Methodist Church of Myanmar (formerly Burma) was a special guest.

Pastors and churches were recognized and awards were presented by Bishop King for excellence in various ministries. The bishop also presented 49 clergy with a special Five-Star Pastor gold lapel pin for outstanding ministry during the past year.
The conference voted for further study on a proposal to reduce the number of districts from 12 to 10.

Sister Kathleen Flood of Nashville led the Bible study and offered an inspirational message about being connected to each other and never being alone.

The Rev. Vance Ross was the guest preacher during the Mission and Ministry celebration, where an offering of $57,342 was collected for the Methodist Mountain Mission, the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund and East Africa.

The conference voted to settle a dispute with the former trustees of Good Samaritan Foundation Inc. over control of its board of trustees and the $25 million in assets of the foundation. Under the terms of the settlement, the conference and the former trustees have named 15 members to a transitional board with the conference naming all members to the board by 2012. Two members of the former board will rotate off through 2011, and the conference will name all members in 2012. The foundation will continue its mission to provide health care, health education and research ministries for the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Members forwarded two petitions to the 2008 General Conference-one outlining an appeal process of University Senate decisions and a second concerning descriptive terminology of pastors and authority in worship.

Cokesbury presented the conference with a check for $18,620 that then was donated to the Central Conference Pension Fund.

Clergy elected delegates to the 2008 General Conference are: Debbie Wallace-Padgett, Lexington; Maxie Dunham, Memphis, Tenn.; Tom Grieb, Louisville; Tom Eblen, Lexington; Michael Powers, Bowling Green; Kenneth Cummings Jr., Frankfort; and Tom Smith, Louisville.

Lay delegates for General Conference are: Christine Harman, Louisville; Melvin Bowdan Jr., Nicholasville; John Minton Jr., Bowling Green; Carol Ackley, Florence; Linda Underwood King, Louisville; Ed Shytle, Ashland; and Jayne Squires, Greensburg.

Clergy delegates elected to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference are: Bill T. Arnold, Lexington; Eliseo Mejia, Lexington; George Strunk, Louisville; Julie Hager Love, Mt. Washington; Rhoda Gillespie Peters, Louisville; Hunn Choi, Nicholasville; and Jean Hawxhurst, Louisville.

Laity elected to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference are: Jeannette L. Westerfield, Louisville; Verna McKinney, Somerset; Michael B. Watts, Lawrenceburg; John R. Denham, Maysville; Richard Wilson, Hawesville; Annie Haigler, Louisville; and Saundra Epley, Frankfort.

Clergy alternates are: David Grout, Bowling Green; Charles Brockwell Jr., Louisville; and Wayne Bishop, Louisville.

Lay alternates are: Marian Helm Smith, Madisonville; Jim Sutton, Crestwood; and Michael Grout, Bowling Green.

With an extra day built into this year's session, the conference offered a free night with a special time for clergy and laity to explore alternative worship and outreach through a "coffee house." This model offered music, coffee, fellowship and a devotion.

In keeping with a spirit of never being alone, the conference raised more than $3,000 for a new van for the Revs. Mike and Sherri Tabaka-Morrissey. The van will provide transportation for Methodists in Thailand who travel great distances to places of worship. Various churches and members also donated $3,085 for the denomination's Nothing But Nets anti-malaria campaign.

Membership stands at 152,432 for 2006, up 303 from previous year. Worship attendance stands at 60,256.

-Kevin D. Evers