2009 East Ohio Annual Conference
East Ohio Annual Conference
June 15-18, 2009, Lakeside, Ohio
Hearts, minds and doors were open during the 40th session of the East Ohio Annual Conference with the theme: Be Transformed! Bishop John Hopkins presided over the conference sessions. Featured speakers included Bishop Lindsey Davis of the Louisville Area, Bishop Jonathan Keaton from the Michigan Area and the Rev. Nancy Hull, president and chief executive officer of Flat Rock Homes and Care Center.
"Friends, if there was ever a time to rethink church, now is the time," Hopkins said during the annual episcopal address. Hopkins encouraged members to step outside their comfort zones and realize that in order to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, all United Methodists must rethink church. "If ever there was a time to embrace change, seek innovation and demonstrate faith, now is the time," he said.
Invited by Hopkins, the 10 district superintendents shared more than 30 stories of churches involved in creative and innovative ministry including churches offering new worship services on boats, at the lake, a cowboy church, one service started at a comedy club and a church that offers three distinctly different worship services to three completely different audiences.
Some other featured ministries are churches that transformed their buildings and parsonages to provide shelter for the homeless, ministry partnerships with area schools, and a church that started a reading program for elementary age children that now includes youth and adults who need assistance with reading. Another church has reached out to the growing Hispanic population teaching English as a second language for those who have expressed interest.
The conference members adopted the following resolutions:
- Environmental Awareness Sunday - This resolution asks that the conference establish at least one Sunday a year for the purpose of environmental awareness.
- Third World No More - This resolution urges conference members to refrain from using the term Third World to refer to the people of former colonial countries and their citizens. The term Third World is offensive and implies discrimination.
- Youth Sunday - This resolution encourages youth to participate in worship and to discover, develop and implement their spiritual gifts. This resolution asks churches to designate a Youth Sunday; giving youth an opportunity to lead worship.
Two deacons and seven elders were ordained. The conference recognized 29 clergy who retired.
In the spirit of holy conferencing, East Ohio Conference considered the 32 General Conference Amendments all receiving more yes votes than no.
In other business, the conference:
- Approved a $12,558,879.00 apportioned budget, a flat budget for the fifth year in a row.
- Donated $59,350 for the Bishop's Mission Initiative: Churches, Clinics and Classrooms with an additional $16,080 to be distributed equally between The Global AIDS Fund, Central Conference Pension Fund and the Bishop's Discretionary Fund.
A tradition for more than 20 years, the Conference Council on Youth Ministries challenged the bishop and cabinet to a friendly competition to raise funds for missions. In years past, the challenges have included a bicycle race, shuffleboard, corn toss and who-can-get-the-most-hugs competitions. This year's challenge, a dance-off, with the bishop and cabinet dancing to "We Are Family" while CCYM members strutted their stuff to a combination of "Moon River and Shackles." More than $600 was raised within a few minutes of each group's performance.
Membership stands at 168,775 down 5,180 over the previous year, worship attendance stands at 64,281 down 3,040.