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2007 New York Annual Conference

June 6-9, 2007, Hempstead, N.Y.

The New York Annual Conference met at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., with Bishop Jeremiah J. Park presiding.

The clergy session met on June 6 to hear and act on the report of the Board of Ordained Ministry and other clergy-related matters. The Laity met later that afternoon to begin the process of electing lay delegates to the 2008 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. The full conference session opened in the evening with worship. Bishop Warner H. Brown of the Rocky Mountain Area preached on the theme "Go Deeper."

On June 7, the departed members of the conference family were remembered at the Memorial Communion service. Legislative groups met that afternoon to consider recommendations, petitions and resolutions. The passing of the mantle was celebrated that evening by recognizing 19 retiring clergy members. This was followed by celebration of those who are entering the ministry: three licensed local pastors were recognized; two associate members were commissioned; and eight probationary deacons and elders were commissioned.

Reports of the various legislative sections were received, debated and voted upon on June 8. Many reports dealt with items of procedure and positions of the annual conference. Several dealt with denominational issues. Two resolutions forwarded to General Conference called for equal rights for people regardless of sexual orientation and that qualification for transfer of church membership from another denomination be determined by appropriate letter of transfer and not subject to evaluation by the pastor of the receiving congregation. A resolution calling for non-discrimination against laity because of sexual orientation and identity was approved for submission to General Conference. Another resolution calls for acceptance of the declaration of faith of any person seeking membership in The United Methodist Church and accepting the time at which that person chooses to make a declaration and seek church membership. A final petition calls for the church to recognize committed unions. The conference approved a proposal asking that the mandatory retirement age for bishops be eliminated from denominational law, but delegates defeated efforts to do the same for ordained clergy.

Saturday, June 9, was given over to celebration of mission and ordination. More than 1,000 youth of the conference joined in the celebration of mission and youth ministry. Awards were presented to congregations that achieved significant participation in mission work in their own communities and in out-of-conference Volunteer in Mission efforts in places including the U.S. Gulf Coast, Ghana, Costa Rica, Mozambique, Bolivia and elsewhere. The youth celebrated their efforts in support of the Nothing But Nets anti-malaria effort of the denomination. More than $66,000 was contributed, between funds collected at home by youth and brought to the conference, an offering received that morning and a matching grant of $10,000 from the Bishop's Partners in Mission fund. The youth then adjourned to a large outside tent for a musical celebration that lasted throughout the afternoon. The conference concluded with the service of ordination at which nine elders were ordained and one person had her orders from another denomination recognized.

Lay delegates elected to the 2008 General Conference are: Frederick K. Brewington of Freeport; Ernest L. Swiggett of White Plains; Chan K. P. Gillham of Stamford, Conn.; Carolyn Hardin Engelhardt of Hamden, Conn.; Jorge Lockward of New York; and Natassia Velez of Middletown.

Clergy delegates to the General Conference are: Allen Pinckney Jr. of New York; Constance Pak of Sea Cliff; Timothy Riss of Hicksville; Noel Chin of Scarsdale; Judith Stevens of Patchogue; and Evelyn McDonald of Newburgh.

Lay delegates to the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference are: Marva D. Usher-Kerr of Brooklyn; Betsy Ingram of Southampton; Kevin M. Nelson of New York; Jaewon Kim of Middleton; Robert G. Hunsinger of Monroe; and Beverly Peck Risi of Holmes.

Reserve lay delegates to the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference are: Robert G. Miller of Norwalk, Conn.; Inday Day of Brewster; and Maria Maine of Hauppauge.

Clergy delegates to the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference are: Stephen Bauman of New York; Gunshik Shim of East Williston; R. Randy Day of South Salem; Takayuki Ishii of Bridgeport, Conn.; Arturo Maine of Happauge; and Edward Horne of Westport, Conn.

Reserve clergy delegates to the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference are: Adrienne Brewington of Freeport; Kun Sam Cho of White Plains; Elizabeth Braddon of Brewster; and Dennis Winkleblack of Norwalk, Conn.

Membership stands at 122,756, down 1,164 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 38,363, down 1,382. Church school attendance stands at 10,881, down 959.

-Donald E. Collier