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2012 Louisiana Annual Conference

Louisiana Annual Conference
June 3-6, Centenary College, Shreveport, La.

By Betty Backstrom, director of communications, Louisiana Annual Conference

Louisiana Annual Conference members voted June 6 to accept an amended version of the 2013 conference budget proposed by its Council on Finance and Administration (CFA). The $7,431,578 budget, presented during the 2012 Louisiana Annual Conference in Shreveport, represents a 9.34 percent decrease from the 2011 budget.

The drastic cuts were achieved, in part, by the elimination of several conference staff positions.

The 2013 budget also reflects the elimination of one district, reducing the number of districts from seven to six. Cuts were made to the Conference Administration Fund, Conference Benevolence Fund and other line items.

The conference also approved a new sexual ethics policy for clergy, professional staff, volunteers and all members of the conference.

The ministries of Bishop William W. Hutchinson and Mrs. Kay Hutchinson were celebrated throughout the conference, culminating in a service of sending forth on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 6. Held June 3-6 on Centenary College's campus in Shreveport, this was our last annual conference session with Bishop Hutchinson as our episcopal leader. We have been blessed for 12 years with his wisdom and pastoral leadership.

"Building Up Leaders for Building Up the World" was the theme for this year's event, with Ephesians 4:11-12 serving the inspirational scripture for the theme. Worship services and guest teaching sessions by the Rev. Adam Hamilton reflected this year's theme and focus.

Our concern for the elimination of malaria worldwide was lifted up as churches and members celebrated "Louisiana Skeeter Run: Change the World," a conference-wide event held April 21. Through this event, more than $57,000 has been raised to date to benefit Imagine No Malaria, our denomination's global initiative to eradicate malaria.

The Rev. Fred Wideman is a candidate for the episcopacy endorsed by the conference delegation.

A Commissioning and Ordination Service was held Tuesday, June 5, at First United Methodist Church in Shreveport. Ten persons were ordained elders and received into full connection with the conference. Four people were ordained deacons at the service. Five people were commissioned as provisional elders, and one was commissioned as a provisional deacon.

The 2012 class of clergy retirees were honored June 6 during the traditional "Passing of the Mantle" service. The Rev. J. Roddy Taylor represented the retiring class and placed the ceremonial mantle over the shoulders of Rev. Brad Franklin, who represented the new full member class. Sixteen people are in this year's class of retirees.

Membership stands at 119,990 down 892 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 41, 588, up 481 from the previous year. Church school attendance stands at 16,140, down 270; but covenant disciple groups stand at 4,796, up 849 from the previous year.