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2007 West Ohio Annual Conference

June 10-14, 2007, Lakeside, Ohio

The "whoosh" of the Holy Spirit swept the banks at Lakeside on Lake Erie at the annual meeting of about 3,000 West Ohio United Methodists. Resident Bishop Bruce Ough called church members to action by quoting Acts 2 and asking the week's question, "Now, what do we do?"

Ough answered the question in his episcopal address, citing six pathways for church development: leadership excellence, new venues for ministry, strengthening existing churches, mission partnerships, financial resource development and missional alignment.

"West Ohio is also called to repent and pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit," said Ough. "We are also called to become a nimble church committed to fruitful congregations and to write the next chapter of Acts."

Conference treasurer Stan Sutton reported 2006 apportionment giving was the highest since 2000, with nearly two-thirds of the conference's 1,150 churches paying 100 percent. In 2007, apportionment giving, so far, is the highest on record, he said.

The Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of the Church of the Resurrection United Methodist Church in Leawood, Kan., served as keynote speaker. This body has grown from four people in 1990 to more than 12,000 adult members today. He told those present at Lakeside that the church must "change, improve, innovate or die."

Bishop Ough ordained 23 people as elders in full connection, one as a deacon in full connection. One person was received into associate membership, one into full membership, and 16 candidates were commissioned. A total of 34 clergy and one diaconal minister retired.

The Miracle Offering taken to combat HIV/Aids totaled $151,000. Other United Methodist bishops in attendance were Fritz Mutti, Jonathan Keaton and John L. Hopkins.

Conference members adopted resolutions to support:

  • Ending the U.S. military presence in Iraq and pre-emptive military strikes and promoting the effort of military chaplains, especially United Methodist clergy who minister to the military;
  • An amendment to the Ohio Constitution, called "Getting It Right In Ohio," which has been introduced to establish a new funding mechanism for public education; and
  • Encouraging all churches to observe the National Day of Prayer, especially in ecumenical settings.

The conference endorsed petitions to the 2008 General Conference to:

  • Support continued sacramental privilege for local pastors;
  • Endorse full clergy voting rights for local pastors and associate members;
  • Allow deacons in full connection to be ordained to word, service and sacrament, and extend the sacramental ministry to deacons retroactive to the first class of deacons ordained in 1997; and
  • Require the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns to publish annually a complete list of all ecumenical shared ministries.

The conference defeated a measure calling for equal access to church membership regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity (Paragraph 214 in the Book of Discipline).

In other business, the conference voted for the nominations committee to reflect the restructuring from 14 districts to eight districts and for the Connectional Ministries Council to convene an alignment team to clarify the structure of the council.

The body authorized sale of the land and buildings at Gardner Village in Washington Court House; established a Conference Endowment Fund Program for individuals, local churches and other United Methodist-related organizations; approved purchase of a new episcopal residence; authorized the Commission on Equitable Compensation to set guidelines for minimum clergy salaries; and approved maintaining a pension program for the benefit of ordained ministers and their families, other church workers and lay employees.

Voting members elected 44 people as clergy and lay delegates to general and jurisdictional conferences.

Lay delegates to the 2008 General Conference are: George Howard, Columbus; Mary Kercherval Short, Cincinnati; Anna Barrett, Ada; Katherine Connolly, Marysville; Chris Steiner, Toledo; Benis Lutz, Ashville; Mildred Oglesby, Cincinnati; Robert Walker Sr., Dayton; Scott Dawson, Portsmouth; Phillip Connolly, Marysville; and Anthony Carmichael, Columbus.

Clergy delegates to General Conference are: Gregory Stover, Cincinnati; Gloria Brooks, Columbus; Roger Grace, Columbus; Norman Coleman III, West Chester; Joon-Sik Park, Delaware; Darryl Fairchild, Dayton; Thomas Tumblin, Findlay; Margaret Mallory, Toledo; Alice Wolfe, Anna; Rachel Miller, Piqua; and Dee Stickley-Miner, Columbus.

Lay delegates to the North Central Jurisdictional Conference are: Mary Ann Galloway, Chesapeake; Ernest Jackson, Columbus; Debora David, Archbold; Jennifer Howard Burn, Dayton; Bruce Boyd, Sidney; Al Rhonemus, Georgetown; Scott Barrett, Kenton; Eric Seiberling, Cincinnati; Roxie Hutsell, Cincinnati; Catherine Wells, Columbus; and Ned Winter, Upper Sandusky.

Clergy delegates to the Jurisdictional Conference are: John Edgar, Columbus; Derik Hines, Gahanna; Thomas Hanover, Athens; R. Stanley Sutton, Columbus; Jocelyn Roper, Cincinnati; L. Cean Wilson, Columbus; Calvin Alston Jr., Cincinnati; Andrew Young, Columbus; Sharon Hausman, Somerset; David Meredith, Columbus; and Scot Ocke, Maumee.

Alternate lay delegates to the Jurisdictional Conference are: Ruth Lawson, Springfield; Joan Johnson, Dayton; Bob Imboden, Chillicothe; James Bingman, Columbus; Cathie Shick, Cincinnati; Irma Phillips-Carmichael, Dayton; Leo Scholl, Dayton; John Peters, Fostoria; Sue Stutz, Columbus; and Soren Hessler, Payne.

Alternate clergy delegates to the Jurisdictional Conference are: James Waugh, Columbus; Cyndy Garn, Columbus; David Chivington, Middletown; Stephanie Tunison, Cincinnati; Gregory Creech, Findlay; Deborah Stevens, Columbus; Henry Stringer, Columbus; Christopher Heckaman, Sidney; Kevin Pees, Benton Ridge; and Sharon Beattie, Delaware.

West Ohio membership stands at 224,342, down 6,159 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 122,739, up 42. Church school attendance stands at 41,505, down 676.

-Ann Rhyan