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2011 Tennessee Annual Conference

Tennessee Annual Conference
June 12-15, Brentwood, Tenn.

Entering the events of the 2011 annual conference, those in the Tennessee Conference were fully aware of the theme "Risk-Taking Mission & Service." After all, the previous
three years has focused on one of Bishop Robert Schnases practices from his book Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations (Abingdon Press).

In an article that appeared in the Oct. 29 issue of the Tennessee Conference newsletter, Connectional Ministries Director the Rev. Bettye Lewis stated, "In prior consecutive years,
we have observed the first three of these practices on a Conference-wide basis during annual conference. As you will recall we celebrated Intentional Faith Development, the third practice, during the 2010 Annual Conference. For this year Bishop Dick Wills, the Extended Cabinet and the Conference Council on Connectional Ministries are inviting the conference to begin observing this theme NOW."

In 2011 it seemed as if momentum alone from an almost year-long focus of Schnases fourth practice actually flung open the doors of Brentwood UMC in anticipation of seeing what God has done, is doing and will do in the future of the Tennessee Conference by fruitful living.

The Rev. Jorge Acevedo from Grace Church, Cape Coral, Fla., was this year's guest speaker. Grace Church is a multi-site United Methodist congregation that has grown in weekend attendance from 400 to over 2,600 in the past thirteen years. It is recognized as having one of the largest and most effective recovery ministries in America with over 800
people involved in weekly recovery ministries.

During the week the Rev. Acevedo delivered passionate messages to those in the Tennessee Conference, urging the church to actively and aggressively focus on reaching the lost through "Greater Things!" (Luke 10:25-37), "Greater Obedience!" (Isaiah 6:1-13) and by praying, "Lord, send us the people that nobody wants or sees."

With the Conference working toward a common goal coupled with a building enthusiasm for annual conference, it was a bittersweet time for Nashville Area Bishop Richard J. "Dick" Wills. In January, Bishop Wills announced his early retirement, effective Sept. 1, due to health reasons. The Council of Bishops has approved Bishop Benjamin Chamness as the interim bishop in residence of the Nashville Area, which includes the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences.

"I have come to love you so very much. I don't always love the position, but I do love YOU!" said Bishop Wills to the Tennessee Conference during his State of the Church Address on Tuesday afternoon. "I wish my health would permit me to stay another year, but the reality is that you deserve a bishop that can be more present with you than I have been able to these last two years." Bishop Wills and his wife Eileen were honored on Tuesday evening in Haney Hall at a special reception given to celebrate their "ministry and service to Jesus Christ."

In addition to his heartfelt words towards the Tennessee Conference, Bishop Wills also utilized the platform of the State of the Church Address to reiterate that the disasters Middle
Tennesseans have faced in the past year, with the 1,000 year flooding event and multiple storms, have not received the national attention they deserves. Two special offerings were dedicated, with half of the $14,796.83 given at annual conference going towards TN UMC Storm Relief and half for the recovery efforts in Haiti following last year's earthquake. A total of $2,235.73 was donated toward the Episcopal Discretionary Fund.

Adding to an already special annual conference experience, Bishop Wills introduced Bishop Raul Garcia de Ochoa of the Eastern Mexico Conference as one of the week's special guests in attendance. In 2009, both the Memphis and Tennessee conferences signed a covenant (or "pacto" agreement) with the Eastern Mexico Conference where, "we are able to share in ministry with one another - not a handout but a genuine and mutual sharing between each conference." Bishop Garcia had spent the prior week in Paducah, Kent. at the Memphis Annual Conference.

The following are delegates that were elected to General and Jurisdictional Conferences during the 2011 Tennessee Annual Conference:

Delegates elected to General Conference 2012
Clergy the Rev. Harriet J. Bryan, Clarksville (Salem UMC); the Rev. Stephen Handy, Brentwood (McKendree UMC); the Rev. Max Mayo, Cookeville (Cookeville First UMC); Dr. A. Lynn Hill, Franklin (Franklin First UMC)
Laity - Mr. James R. Allen, Nashville (Blakemore UMC); Mr. C. Donn Ladd, Franklin (Forest Hills UMC); Mrs. Opal Ransom, Nashville (Gordon Memorial UMC); Ms. Cornelia Clark, Franklin (Franklin First UMC)

Delegates elected to Jurisdictional Conference 2012
Clergy the Rev. Jacob C. Armstrong, Mt. Juliet (Providence UMC); the Rev. Carol Cavin-Dillon, Nashville (Christ UMC); the Rev. Kaye Harvey, Brentwood (Brentwood UMC); the Rev. Tommy Ward, Fayetteville (Fayetteville UMC)
Laity - Mrs. Holly Neal, Crossville (Crossville First UMC); Dr. Betty Alexander, Hendersonville (Hendersonville First UMC); Mrs. Heather Bennett, Franklin (Bethlehem UMC); Mrs. Joy Lewter, Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill UMC)

Reserve delegates elected to Jurisdictional Conference 2012
Clergy the Rev. Lisa Gwock, Nashville (Belmont UMC); the Rev. Bryan Brooks, Murfreesboro (Blackman UMC); Dr. Michael Williams, Nashville (West End UMC); the Rev. Jerry Wallace, Gallatin (Gallatin First UMC)
Laity - Mr. Andrew Miller, Franklin (Franklin First UMC); Mrs. Reba Seals, Fayetteville (Fayetteville First UMC); Mr. Timothy Moss, Franklin (Bethlehem UMC); Mr. Deen Thompson, Antioch (Edge Hill UMC)

The following is a list of people that were licensed, elected, commissioned or ordained at the 2011 Tennessee Annual Conference:

First Time Local Pastors (14): Brandon Wayne Bass, Arthur Eugene Collier, George William Copeland, Douglas, Michael Dezotell, Robert Andrew Fiser, John E. Greer, Bo Vaughn Johnson, George Thomas McDowell, Michael Edwin Neal, Rachel Ann Peavyhouse-Fay, William Jeremy Taylor, Edward Thomas Vann, Jr., David Arthur Winton and Niger Amim Woodruff

Associate Members (2): Jeffrey Alan Jacob, Charles Kevin Marston

Commissioned Provisional Members (8): Kristin Elizabeth Clark-Banks, Danny Martin Freeman, Robert J. Jared, Roberta Beck Martin, Thomas Andrew Price, Haley Alicia Robinson, Paul J. Shaffer and Jeffrey Scott Streszoff

Elders and Full Members of the Conference (4): Louis Foster Davis, James Randall Goodman, Robert Daniel Hunter-Dunbar and Robert Austin Niles

Five resolutions were passed at the 2011 Tennessee Annual Conference:

Rental/Housing Allowances for Retired or Disabled Clergy Persons- go to for details.

Resolution from the Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries -TN UMC to observe Camp and Retreat Ministries Sunday on the third Sunday of March each year.

Conference Apportionments -TN UMC to study the apportionment formula and report this information at the next session of the annual conference with possible action or options.

Conference Advance Specials Resolution -TN UMC formally recognize 20 ministry projects (61st Ave. UMC after school program, Bethlehem Centers of Nashville, Community Care Fellowship, East End childrens program, Edgehill Brighter Days after school program, Feed America First, Grace Assistance program, Gallatin Shalom Zone, Joelton Hope Center, TN JFON, Miriams Promise, Mountain T.O.P., Salvus Center, TN UMC Corrections Ministry, TN UMC United Methodist Relief, TN UMC Friends of Beersheba Springs Assembly, TN UMC
Friends of Cedar Crest Camp, TN UMC Hunger Ministries, TN UMC Strength for the Journey HIV/AIDS Ministry and TN UMC VIM) as Conference Advance Specials for the 2011-12 conference year and that they be promoted through local churches, districts and Conference ministries.

Support of "20/20: Visioning an AIDS-Free World" -TN UMC to take a special offering to support United Methodist Global AIDS Fund (Advance #982345).

*For passed resolutions brought to the floor at annual conference, please go to

Awards presented at the 2011 Tennessee Annual Conference:

Denman Evangelism: Cinde Lucas presented the Denman Evangelism Award for Youth to Todd Cox (Cooks UMC), Denman Evangelism Award for Laity to Adam Jones (Youth Dir., Hilldale UMC) and Denman Evangelism Award for Clergy to the Rev. Randy Brown (Winchester UMC).

J. Richard Allison Social Holiness: the Rev. James Cole presented the Allison Social Holiness Recognition for Laity to Beverly Dycus (Dir. of Clarksville Urban Ministries and pastor of TN Ridge Charge) and Allison Social Holiness Recognition for Clergy to the Rev. Paul Gardiner.

Journal Dedication: Sue Smith presented the Journal Dedication for Laity to Pat Sailors (Dist. Secretary, Pulaski) and Journal Dedication for Clergy to the Rev. Fred Harper (pastor, Slaters Chapel).

The Mission Fair was a new addition to annual conference and a highlight of this years week of events. On Sunday and Monday, Haney Hall was transformed into an exhibit hall featuring various ministries of each district within the Tennessee Annual Conference. This was a great opportunity to bring awareness to these ministries and provided an excellent arena for conversation and fellowship.

Social networking and media played an official role at annual conference for the first time in 2011. Still images of annual conference were uploaded to the TN UMC Facebook page ( throughout each day. Many got the conversation going on Twitter using the hashtag "#tnac2011" and interacting with fellow annual conference "tweeters" while moderated by the official TN UMC Twitter account (managed by the Office of Communications) found at "@tnumc" (or Based on the positive feedback and usage of these tools, the utilization of social networking and media at annual conference will continue to grow in the years to come.

Total membership at the end of 2010 was 119,287, a 0.3% decrease from 2009. Average worship attendance was 48,946, a 1.8% decrease from the previous year. The number of persons baptized in 2010 was 1,475 representing a 9.7% decrease from last year, a slight improvement from the 14.7% deficit between 2008 and 2009. Please download the complete list of 2010 TN Conference statistics:

For more about the 2011 Tennessee Annual Conference at Brentwood UMC, please visit or For the 2011-12 Appointments Book, please visit Please keep in touch with the annual conference page on the website, as we are adding content and multimedia from the 2011 annual conference daily!

TN UMC Connectional Ministries
Office of Communications