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2012 Indiana Annual Conference

Indiana Annual Conference Session
June 7-9, Indianapolis

The fourth session of the Indiana Annual Conference met June 7-9 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. The theme was "Making ROOM" based on Acts 2:46-47. More than 2,000 members and guests experienced the significance of the theme with the first annual conference session under one roof in a large facility that was completely accessible. The purpose of the annual conference session was to equip, inspire and transform members in order to transform their congregations and communities.

Bishop Michael J. Coyner presided over his eighth annual session in Indiana. Guest plenary session co-presenters were the Rev. Jim Ozier, director of new church development and congregational transformation for the North Texas Annual (regional) Conference, and Fiona Macleod, who serves as director of learning and development at Interstate Batteries. The Rev. Kenda Creasy Dean, professor of youth, church and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary and an acclaimed speaker and writer on ministry with youth and young adults, also lead a workshop attended by hundreds of members and guests. All three presenters taught members how to interact with people in a secular society to welcome them into the life of the church.

Ozier and Macleod also spoke at the laity session, emphasizing the importance of caring for the needs of staff and volunteers as they interact with guests. Fourteen other workshops and seminars also were featured with more than 100 people in each.

The day before conference, more than 150 volunteers from across the state connected with the near northeast Indianapolis community by working on two Habitat for Humanity houses being built, installing a new playground at the United Methodist-related Brightwood Community Center, repairing homes in the Brightwood neighborhood, preparing and packing meals for homeless residents at Roberts Park United Methodist Church in downtown Indianapolis and knitting caps for babies at Riley Hospital for Children. The morning before the session, more than 120 members and guests participated in a 5K run/walk/stroll to raise more than $5,000 and awareness for the church's Imagine No Malaria campaign. The conference mission team hosted the 5K on the Central Canal downtown.

On the late afternoon of Friday, June 8, during another community outreach, hundreds of members and residents jammed Monument Circle in the heart of downtown for a family fun night of food, games, entertainment and music provided by area United Methodist churches and a local radio station. The three-day session provided six worship services including a memorial, retiree recognition service and commissioning/ordination service. During the Celebration of Ministry, 15 provisional members (two deacons, 13 elders) were ordained (average age is 40; eight are under 40, five are under 30) and 15 candidates for ministry were commissioned (average age is 45; six are under 40, one under 30). Only business requiring action was brought to the floor of annual conference. All other written and video reports were provided on the conference website as well as on a DVD that was mailed before the session to all conference members. A popular expanded hospitality area provided 73 exhibitors' booths, a large Cokesbury bookstore, a free coffee bar and an entertainment stage. During two business sessions, the conference approved:

  • A 2013 income budget of $13.6 million;
  • A capital fund campaign for camping ministry statewide;
  • A campaign to raise funds for Africa University;
  • A report from the camping ministry stating this past year 3,290 campers were in the program and that 511 campers made a commitment to Christ and 146 campers received a call to ministry;

  • A report for the disaster response team about tornado recovery efforts in southern Indiana - they also thanked the conference's churches for giving more than $600,000 to tornado disaster relief and recovery;

  • The endorsement of the Rev. Cindy Reynolds as an episcopal candidate, if an election for a bishop is held during the North Central Jurisdictional Conference;

  • A report affirming the leadership of Bishop Coyner and asking the North Central Jurisdiction to reassign him for a third four-year term as bishop of the Indiana Area;

  • The 2013 Indiana Annual Conference session to be held June 6-8 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

The conference session also included a Saturday morning conference and community prayer breakfast featuring Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indianapolis City-County Council President Maggie Lewis as speakers. Prayers were offered for the residents of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. Following the conference session, more than 300 members and guests stayed for a United Methodist night at Victory Field ballpark watching a game between the Indianapolis Indians and the Rochester Red Wings. Bishop Coyner threw out the ceremonial first pitch. A United Methodist choir sang the National Anthem.

Membership stands at 197,917, down 2,686 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 114,261, down 3,537. Church school attendance stands at 36,242, down 1,948.

  • Daniel R. Gangler, director of communication, Indiana Conference