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2011 Susquehanna Annual Conference

Susquehanna Annual Conference
June 8-11, 2011, Grantham, Pa.

After citing words in Deuteronomy, "I set before you life and death. Choose life," Bishop Jane Allen Middleton asked 1,500 United Methodists, "What personal or congregational baggage and keepsakes is Christ calling us to leave today so that we might follow him more closely as his faithful disciples?"

The occasion was the opening worship celebration of the second annual conference session of the newly formed Susquehanna Conference, a Pennsylvania conference of The United Methodist Church. The conference was held on June 8-11, 2011 at Messiah College in Grantham, Penn.

Evening worship celebrations honored retiring clergy and clergy who died in the past year. Memorial service speaker, the Rev. Beth Jones, Superintendent of the Scranton District, invited her audience to call out single words characterizing the lives of those who "poured out" their gifts in pastoral service.

Special guest speaker for the conference was the Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of The Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan. A distinguished and prolific author, the Rev. Hamilton presented three sessions during the conference on leadership, preaching and worship, and missional outreach.

In plenary sessions, delegates were elected for General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 2012. A resolution was overwhelmingly passed to reduce the number of districts from 11 to seven, while calling for an additional district position. The resolution also asked for a new Cabinet position with a focus on church growth and church starts.

The body approved a Plan for Funding Ministry budget at a 5.9% reduction from the previous year.

Eight resolutions dealt with visioning an AIDS-free world, mental health ministries, eating habits, use of Styrofoam, Marcellus Shale issues, hydraulic fracturing, a moral approach to governing and an interfaith moratorium on capital punishment. There was also approval of safe sanctuary, cyber safety and sexual ethics policies. A presentation explained changes in the clergy health care plan.

The conference concluded with an ordination celebration of new clergy on Saturday afternoon.

There were three special offerings taken: Cup of Water Fund - $23,846.27, Imagine No Malaria - $21,591.95, Mission Central - $23,556.39 and Youth Service Fund $5,697.39.

At year-end 2010, membership was 164,316 and average worship attendance was 66,848.

General Conference 2012 Clergy Delegates elected by electronic ballot were: Clergy - Mark Webb, Beth Jones, Lewis Parks, Thomas Salsgiver, Matthew Lake, Kathleen Knd, and Towanda Acey; Laity - Zedna Haverstock, Anne Horton, Shirley J. Sowers, Lisa D. Bender, Kristopher Sledge, Gary D. Sowers, and Stephen Drachler.

Jurisdictional Conference 2012 delegates elected were: Clergy Dennis Otto, Debbie Heisley-Cato, Gregory Johnson, Michael Bealla, Dennis Keller, Mark Terwilliger, and Timothy Baer; Laity Evanmichael Drexler, Raymond L. Hamill, Karen L Weiss, Sheryl Hart, Warren A. Heil, Joan Elizabeth Carey, and Amanda Bressler.

Jurisdictional Conference 2012 alternate clergy delegates elected were: Roger Mentzer, Arlene Beechert, Jacob Waybright, and Lori Steffenson.

Jurisdictional Conference 2012 alternate laity delegates elected were: Jean Rupp, Joan Baxter, Ann Ahlf, and Milton Loyer.