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2008 Kansas West Annual Conference

May 28-30, 2008, Salina, Kan.

The Kansas West Annual Conference met under the leadership of Bishop Scott J. Jones and the theme "Gather Us In." More than 1,000 prayer shawls were collected and distributed during communion at opening worship, wrapping conference members and guests in the prayers of shawl-makers from across the annual conference. Undistributed shawls were donated.

The conference celebrated pledges of more than $5.2 million toward its $4.2 million capital campaign to support infrastructure for camping and campus ministry and church development for new and existing congregations. The campaign Bridges to the Future began with an affirmative vote at the 2007 annual conference session.

The Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, was the featured plenary speaker. He brought messages on leadership, preaching, worship and the future of The United Methodist Church.

The conference adopted a new vision statement: "As we make disciples of Jesus Christ, the Kansas West Conference calls God's people to invite through radical hospitality, excite for intentional faith-sharing and unite in risk-taking mission for the transformation of the world." Conference members received T-shirts with the three keywords "invite, excite, unite" printed on them. Copies of Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living by Bishop Rueben Job also were distributed.

The conference adopted a $5.9 million budget for 2009. The body also adopted resolutions: 1) establishing an area health and wellness committee; 2) supporting the National Plan for Town and Country Ministries; 3) declaring September Open House Month; 4) authorizing sale of a mission church parsonage; and 5) encouraging local churches to celebrate clergy appointments to local churches.

The conference received a check for $8,842 from the United Methodist Publishing House and voted to contribute the entire amount to the Central Conference Pension Fund.

Bishop Jones commissioned 11 into the ministry of elder or deacon, received one into associate membership, ordained one deacon received into full connection, and ordained one elder received into full membership. Thirteen retired from ministry and one was recognized for service to The United Methodist Church.

Membership stands at 83,724, down 1,242 (1.5 percent) from 2006. Worship attendance stands at 34,293, down 1,419 (3.97 percent). Sunday school attendance stands at 13,954, down 41 (.29 percent).

Lisa Elliott Diehl