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2011 Kansas West Annual Conference

Kansas West Annual Conference
May 25-27, 2011, Hutchinson, Kan.

Led by Bishop Scott J. Jones, delegates focused on the theme "Risk-Taking Mission: Worth It!" and focused on risk-taking mission at local, regional and international levels.

The conference celebrated camping, campus ministry and church-development projects funded through the conference's capital campaign.

The Rev. Cynthia Harvey, associate general secretary of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, was the featured plenary speaker and preached at opening worship. Videos featuring local churches engaged in risk-taking mission and live interviews with people engaged in risk-taking mission were highlights of the conference.

Lay delegates elected to General Conference include Dixie Brewster, Milton, and Penney Schwab, Copeland. Clergy delegates to General Conference are the Rev. Mark Conard, Hutchinson, and the Rev. Amy Lippoldt, Wichita. Brewster will head the delegation. Lay delegates to Jurisdictional Conference include Jill Foss, Hutchinson, and Tyler Ward, Hesston. Clergy delegates to Jurisdictional Conference are the Rev. Cheryl Jefferson Bell, Newton, and the Rev. Nathan Stanton, Wichita.

Conference members participated in a five-finger ballot to test support for creating one new annual conference of the Nebraska, Kansas East and Kansas West conferences. Members in Kansas West were in favor of moving forward with creating one new conference, with 70 percent of members expressing support. A formal vote is expected at conference sessions in 2012.

The conference adopted a $5.8 million budget for 2012. The body also adopted resolutions:

  • Encouraging local churches to celebrate clergy appointments to local churches;
  • Encouraging local churches to celebrate laity and lay speakers in the local church; and
  • Establishing Rural Life Sunday on the Sunday before Thanksgiving annually to raise awareness of the relationship between agriculture and the food we eat, to inform urban and suburban dwellers of the plight of farmers and rural communities, to affirm those who grow the food we eat and to give thanks to God for the unique joys of rural living.

Seven local churches were closed. Two new church starts and several new Hispanic ministries were celebrated.

Jones commissioned 10 into the ministry of elder or deacon, ordained 10 elders received into full membership, received one elder whose orders were previously recognized into full membership and recognized one associate member. The average age of those received into full membership is 36. Fifteen retired from ministry.

Membership stands at 80,571, down 844 (1 percent) from 2009. Worship attendance stands at 46,393, down 506 (4 percent) from 2009. Church school attendance stands at 11,653, down 547 (5 percent) from 2009.

Lisa Elliott Diehl, Kansas Area communications director