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2008 Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference

June 13-15, 2008, Princess Anne, Md.

The Peninsula-Delaware Conference met under the leadership of Bishop Marcus Matthews with a theme of "Gear Up" and a focal Scripture of 1 Peter 1:13-16. During opening worship, the bishop encouraged the members and guests to "Gear up by taking time to be holy, reflecting on past accomplishments and then moving on to the future!"

Bishop Ernest Lyght, episcopal leader of the West Virginia Annual Conference, was the guest preacher for the weekend. Bishop Lyght gave the sermon for both the Ordination and Service of Remembrance worship services. The Rev. Tim McClendon, Columbia District superintendent in the South Carolina Annual Conference and episcopal candidate for the Southeastern Jurisdiction, was the Bible study leader. He opened the Saturday and Sunday morning sessions using Colossians 3:1-17.

The conference broke its previous record of $45,000 in giving through offerings that totaled $48,158. Beneficiaries included Africa University, Global AIDS, Congo Partnership and the board of ordained ministry. The conference also completed its second endowed scholarship to Africa University. In June, Kamuze Kabange, the second student from the first endowed scholarship, graduated.

Those serving in extension ministries were recognized and the Rev. Tom Carter, retired pastor from this conference and now working for the Endorsing Agency in Nashville offered a prayer for the service men and women. The Rev. Sherrol James, a conference member and a Chaplain in the Air Force, received word while attending the annual session that she would be deploying soon. The conference presented her with 500 phone cards totaling 60,000 minutes, obtained through the Endorsing Agency, to carry with her.

The conference members passed a resolution to encourage Maryland voters to say "no" to a referendum to legalize slot machines. Using the statement in the Book of Resolutions on gambling, the resolution asked that Delaware members support Maryland members in November and vote against the referendum that could put 15,000 slot machines at venues in the state, which includes parts of the Peninsula-Delaware and Baltimore-Washington conferences. Two additional resolutions that passed included a Safe Sanctuaries Policy and the Incorporation of Camping & Retreat Ministries.

The proposed $5.7 million Covenant Funding Plan (budget) for 2009 was adopted. During the General Council on Finance and Administration report, it was noted that the conference has paid 100 percent of its General Church Apportionments for the past 24 years. The United Methodist Publishing House presented a check for $6,275.27, which the conference members voted to contribute to the Central Conference Pension Fund.

The General and Jurisdictional Conference co-chairs reported on the April 23-May 2 gathering in Fort Worth, Texas, and distributed the General Conference video to each charge. Prayers were lifted up for the jurisdictional conference delegates.

Bishop Matthews commissioned five people into the ministry of elder, one person was ordained deacon in full connection, and seven were ordained to elder in full connection. Ten members retired from the ministry, and 13 pastors/spouses were remembered during the Memorial Service.

Membership stands at 89,801, down 1,470 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 35,960, down 407. Church school attendance stands at 24,269, up 226.

-The Rev. John Van Tine and Tamara Ward