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2008 New York Annual Conference

June 11-14, 2008, Hempstead, N.Y.

The 209th session of the New York Annual Conference met at HofstraUniversity under the theme: "For Such a Time as This: The World Will Know Us By Our Love."

In his episcopal address, Bishop Jeremiah J. Park:

  • Celebrated the growth of mission work through the Volunteers in Mission teams to the U.S. Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, to Haiti, Mozambique, Bolivia, Ghana, Costa Rica; youth ambassador VIMs; and Bishop's Partners in Mission.
  • Challenged churches and clergy to be a "connecting church" as well as a connectional church.
  • Charged the conference's 1,500 lay speakers and board of laity to lead the conference to reach "more people, younger people and more diverse people."

The conference welcomed back its "favorite daughter," Bishop Jane Allen Middleton of the Harrisburg Area. Bishop Middleton preached twice, urging the attendees to "Dream Big" in her sermon for the opening service and reminding ordinands and all clergy to "Remember Your Call" in her ordination sermon.

The Rev. Gennifer Benjamin Brooks, a member of the conference and the Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Preaching at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, led Bible study each morning from the Gospel of Mark. Her studies connected the Good News of God's reign to the conference's theme for the quadrennium: "For Such a Time as This."

The Rev. Joseph Morrison, a retiring elder, was the preacher for the Memorial Service.The Rev. Richard Rice, who at age 75 completed a year as interim district superintendent, was the preacher of the Passing of the Mantle Service.

The conference celebrated the mission engagement of the youth as they raised more than $92,000 for the Nothing But Nets campaign last year. This year, more than 1,000 children and chaperones attended the Saturday mission celebration event. In response to the challenge to build 10 Noah's Arks (each ark costs $5,000 to fill with the farm animals to be shipped to the United Methodist areas as agreed with Heifer International) they brought gifts of more than $79,000 to build more than 15 arks.

BishopPark ordained 14 elders and one deacon. He was joined in the ordination service by Bishop Middleton, Bishop Herbert Skeete, Bishop Alfred Johnson and Bishop Kyung Ha Shin, president of the Council of Bishops of the KoreanMethodistChurch. Thirteen people were commissioned as probationary members. Twenty-one elders, one deacon, one associate member and two local pastors retired. A budget of $9.19 million was passed.

Membership stands at 120,404, down 2,352 from the previous year. Worship attendance was 37,445, down 918. Church school attendance increased 1,137 to 12,018.

--Dennis Winkleblack