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2009 New York West Annual Conference

New York West Annual Conference
June 19-21, 2009, Buffalo, N.Y.

Bishop Marcus Matthews, resident bishop of the New York West Area, urged the church to be open to God's mission of love during opening worship of the 200th session of the Western New York Annual Conference.

Matthews called for the strengthening of the local church and expressed disappointment at churches that do not nurture future leaders and urged them to work at achieving the mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ.

"We say we want to be a diverse community but what are we doing to bring in those who are different from us?" he asked, pointing out the plight of young people dying of violence and older adults struggling to choose between buying food or medicine.

Noting that Jesus never gave up doing God's mission, he challenged the church to seize the opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus by being bold in our ministry. "Our challenge is to keep on saying Yes to God, even when we are tired."

Bishop Paul Lee Leeland, resident bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference, led a Bible study and brought the memorial service message.

Members of the Western New York Conference Sessions Committee were recognized as the Rev. Douglas Knopp, chairperson, presented his final report in that capacity. Knopp became a member of the committee in 1985 and became chairperson in 1994; Dean Wildrick who has handled the arrangements for displays and given the announcements since 1988, the Rev. Ted Anderson who has served since 1982, particularly with relationship to youth; Richard Caldwell who has handled the registration table and reservations since 1995; and Gary Lorraine who has served as floor manager since 1996.

Three members and three alternates were elected to officially act as representatives on the Joint Distributing Committee. The Joint Distributing Committee was created by the Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops to begin the process of collecting data and information related to pensions and health insurance matters of the six annual conferences engaged in forming three new annual conferences and moving from four to three Episcopal areas. Elected were: Barbara Gasiewicz, Kathy King-Griswold, Terry Sue Wiliford; Alternates: James Maxwell, Paul Schmied, Rick Woodring.

A 2010 budget totaling $3,286,127 was approved, a 2.66 percent increase over the approved 2009 budget.

Closure of Oramel United Methodist Church in the Mountain View District, was affirmed.

A revision on the Strategic Action Plan for the Western New York Conference added four at-large members on the Covenant Council with emphasis on diversity.

A resolution calling for study and prayerful dialogue on issues of homosexuality and homophobia was passed.

The Denman Award, honoring work in evangelism was presented to Rebecca Fuss, and the Revs. Jerry Piper and Brad Cheesebro; and a Conference Board of Laity Award for Excellence in Lay Ministry to Michael Schwartz.

Four elders were ordained, nine were commissioned, and one received as an Associate member.

Membership stands at 55,032 down 624 from the previous year. Average weekly worship attendance stands at 19,674, down 588 from the previous years. Average weekly church school attendance stands at 6,683.

-Marylyn Kasperek