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2012 Kansas West Annual Conference

Kansas West Annual Conference
May 23-25, 2012, Hutchinson, Kan.

Kansas West Annual Conference met May 23-25 in Hutchinson, Kan., under the leadership of Bishop Scott J. Jones. The theme was "Vital Congregations: Dynamic Worship."

The conference celebrated camping, campus ministry and church development projects funded through the conference's capital campaign. Eight people from Zimbabwe were special guests of the conference as it celebrated its Chabadza partnership with the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference.

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, Illinois Area, was the featured plenary speaker and preached at the Ordination and Commissioning Service. Palmer spoke about the vital congregations project.

The annual conference kicked off participation in the Imagine No Malaria fundraising campaign and announced a goal of 100-percent local church participation in the campaign by the end of 2013.

Members of the Kansas West Conference voted May 24 on a motion to create one new annual conference with the Kansas East and Nebraska annual conferences. In simultaneous announcements live-streamed June 9 from the Kansas East and Nebraska annual conference sessions, Jones and Nebraska Bishop Ann Sherer-Simpson reported the vote had passed. Kansas West cast 550 votes, with 409 yes votes, 140 no votes and 1 abstention.

Conference members adopted a resolution setting Wichita as the location for the episcopal residence and office for the new Great Plains Episcopal Area through 2016.

The conference adopted a new formula for determining mission and ministry (apportionment) shares based on a tithe of operating income and a 2013 budget of $5.9 million. The body also adopted resolutions: 1) requiring local congregations to adopt policies for the protection of children, youth and vulnerable adults that include training in boundary awareness and background screenings by Jan. 1, 2013; 2) encouraging local churches to celebrate clergy appointments to local churches; and 3) encouraging local churches to celebrate laity and lay speakers in the local church. Four local churches were closed.

Bishop Jones commissioned five into the ministry of elder or deacon, commissioned one into the ministry of elder or deacon and recognized orders of ministry from another denomination, ordained eight elders received into full membership, received one elder whose orders were previously recognized into full membership, and ordained one deacon. The average age of those received into full membership is 44. Eleven retired from ministry.Membership stands at 79,028, down 1,543 (1.9%) from 2010. Worship attendance stands at 30,725, down 281 (.9%) from 2010. Church school attendance stands at 11,594, down 59 (.5%) from 2010.

Lisa Elliott Diehl, Kansas Area communications director