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2007 Nebraska Annual Conference

June 6-10, 2007, Lincoln, Neb.

"You are the potter, we are the clay" was the theme of the Nebraska Annual Conference, with about 650 delegates meeting at The Cornhusker Marriott Hotel. Guest worship leaders were the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, top executive for the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, and her husband, Russ Harris, who is a professional potter. Harris worked on pottery throughout the conference and contributed to the educational sessions. Other speakers included Jim Winkler, top executive of the Board of Church and Society, and the Rev. Jim Downing of Sedalia, Mo. Messages centered on faith formation with an emphasis on its importance to evangelism and new church growth.

The major item for legislative action was consideration of a report and recommendations from the Transition Team. Most recommendations were adopted as presented with only one section referred back for clarification.Team and staff members were acknowledged for their hard work and the collective wisdom of everyone who offered input to help shape the plan.

The conference approved revisions to its Rules of Order aimed at expediting conference work and efficiency rather than hindering it. While most of the proposal was adopted as presented, one section was referred back for clarification.

The conference approved a 2008 budget of $7,105,245, up 3.48 percent from 2007. The conference showed its appreciation for the diligence and hard work of various boards and committees by adopting program proposals for 2008 with only a couple of minor amendments. Only two items were changed in the budget: restoring to the 2007 funding level both the program budget for the Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the United Methodist contributions to United Ministries in Higher Education (our ecumenical ministry on the campuses of the three state colleges and three state universities).

Rather than taking a divisive stance on issues that are not central to the Christian faith and the church's work, the conference sent various resolutions to the boards and committees charged with the issues they addressed. This move saved the conference much time and stress. The conference also moved to send five petitions to the 2008 General Conference. Three seek clarification of the Book of Discipline on matters relating to church membership, one deals with peacemaking, and one concerns health insurance for retirees.

The conference used more electronic media this year with mostly positive results. Balloting for General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates was done through Scantron, and the counting was more efficient than when done previously by hand.

Lay delegates and lay alternates elected to the 2008 General Conference are: Melody Adams, Arapahoe (lead delegate); Zach Anderson, Lincoln; Lavina Schwaninger, Hallam; Tom Watson, Kearney; and Katie Karges, Beatrice.

Clergy delegates and clergy alternates elected to General Conference are: Charlotte Abram, Omaha; David Lux, Lincoln; Wayne Alloway Jr., Lincoln; Sam Rathod, Kearney; and Cindy Beasky Karges, Beatrice.

Lay delegates and lay alternates elected to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference are: Bill Hasemeyer, North Platte; Carlotta Williams, Omaha; Marilyn Moore, Lincoln; David Jefferson, Lincoln; Marilyn Zehring, Columbus; and Barbara Jo Burns, Kearney.

Clergy delegates and clergy alternates elected to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference are: Stephanie Ahlschwede, Omaha; Seth L. Leypoldt, Chadron; Nancy K. Flader, Lincoln; Chad Anglemyer, Lincoln; Douglas A. Delp, Omaha; and Curnell Graham, Omaha.

Kathryn Witte