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2010 West Virginia Annual Conference

June 10-13, 2010, Buckhannon, W. Va.

The West Virginia Annual Conference met June 10-13 on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, W.Va. The Conference's four-year emphasis on Evangelism continued with the theme "I Will be Your Witness - Passion."

In his opening sermon, Bishop Ernest Lyght asked worshippers to "find the fire" of Christ in their churches, communities, and lives.

Guest preacher, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference urged us to regain our passion and a sense of urgency in churches. He said the church should not be attached to its institutions, but instead should focus on being in "the resurrection business." Using the story of the woman at the well, Palmer asked if we might do what she did: "Is there anything about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that you want to run and tell someone about?"

Crossfire United Methodist Church from North Wilkesboro visited Conference on Friday and Saturday to share how their church reaches beyond the typical upper middle-class demographic of The United Methodist Church. Dr. Alan Rice, pastor of Crossfire talked about the church's unlikely start and shared his experience with the Circles program, designed to help people free themselves from generational poverty.

Ron Crandall who recently retired as a professor of Evangelism at Asbury Theological Seminary near Lexington, Ky., presented ABIDE: A Model for Renewing Smaller Congregations. One success story of a small congregation that he highlighted is Independence United Methodist Church in West Virginia.

In business, Conference approved the following resolutions:

  • The Montcoal Mine Disaster Resolution calls for a complete investigation into the April 5 explosion at a coalmine in Raleigh County, W.Va.; recommends new legislation to be created as needed to protect miners.

  • Affirmed the value of Monitoring to insure that diverse voices are represented in worship and in business sessions.

  • Conference also approved the report of the Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, which includes the following:

  • Conference retirees will be transferred to Medicare Part D for prescription benefits; this will save the Conference $600,000. Conference will continue to provide coverage for about 50 pecent of participants in the 'doughnut hole', to assist retirees with high prescription costs.

  • Health care premiums increase by 18 percent next year; for retirees, premiums will jump from $56 to $135/month.Active participants will see an 18 percent increase to $548/month for singles and $1316/month for families.

  • Approved a three-year 'Comprehensive Protection Plan Holiday' (CPP); instead transferring the 3 percent collected for CPP to death and disability liabilities for retired clergy who served between 1982 and 2006.

Other Highlights:

For the second year, Annual Conference was streamed live with almost 900 unique visits during the week of Conference, with 1596 total views of the stream.

Patrick Friday from GBGM, representing the Advance, reminded Conference of the importance of missions in the work of the church.The West Virginia Annual Conference has given more than $483,000 to UMCOR to aid in the clean-up and restoration of Haiti after January's massive earthquake.

The Bishop ordained 9 elders; commissioned 9 provisional elders, and 2 provisional deacons.In addition, recognized the orders of one associate member and received one associate member.19 pastors entered the retired relationship with the Conference.

Offering Totals at Conference:

Central Conference Pension Initiative:$3899.10
Global AIDS:$2131.25
Campus Ministries: $1965.71
CareNet: $3576.00
The Bishop's Bike Ride to Conference raised $11,426.02 children suffering with HIV/AIDS around the world.

Laura Harbert Allen, director of communications, West Virginia Annual Conference