2012 North Carolina Annual Conference
North Carolina Annual Conference
June 13-16, Raleigh, N.C.
Using the theme of "A Future with Hope: Loving Like Jesus," the North Carolina Annual Conference met June 13-16 at the Raleigh Convention Center.
During the conference, members worshipped together, took action on new approaches for district superintendents in the move from 12 to eight districts, approved a $20.5 million budget, learned about a new approach to discipling, celebrated the eight-year conference ministry of Bishop Alfred Wesley Gwinn Jr., learned about six new faith communities, affirmed the ministry of retiring clergy, beginning ministry of new pastors and the consecration and ordination of clergy.
Bishop Paul Leeland of the Alabama-West Florida area was the guest preacher and Dr. Gil Randle, a nationally known speaker, teacher and consultant working with change and leadership in denominations, presented two teaching sessions.
During the 2011 conference, members approved reducing the number of districts from 12 to eight and the establishment of a Transition Team to complete details of the reduction. The transition team recommended, and each district approved, the sale of district property with the proceeds being used for housing allowances for district superintendents.
A virtual office approach was approved with the district superintendents and an assistant to each superintendent to utilize computers, tablets, cell phones, and other electronic devices in their work. No district offices will be provided but administrative support would be available through staffing at the conference headquarters. In addition, the emphasis of the superintendents' work would be on vision casting, teaching, coaching, mentoring and team building.
During the presentation by the Transition Team, Bishop Al Gwinn was asked by a pastor for an episcopal ruling on five questions related to the transition. In an unrelated matter, Bishop Gwinn was asked to rule on "what activities by outside organizations constitute the promotion of the acceptance of homosexuality." He accepted the questions and said he would have a ruling in 30 days.
All financial related items, health insurance, pension, equitable compensation and conference budget were presented during one morning. For 2013, the eighth year in a row, the local church portion of clergy health insurance did not increase and the clergy portion remained the same as 2012, past service year rate for pre-1982 pension was increased 2.5%, and equitable compensation was increased 3.6%, the first in three years. The conference budget of $20.5 million is a 0.83% increase over the budget approved in 2012. The NC Conference approves the budget one year, raises the funds in the next year, and spends it the year later.
Members were given an introduction of a new discipling approach for local churches. The Disciple-Making Way, the process name, includes coaching from a trained team of clergy and lay persons.
The congregation celebrated the development of six new faith communities. The director of New Faith Communities told the conference that "we've stopped planting 'churches' per se, and have started planting communities of missional discipleship, trying to recover and reclaim the 'method' in Methodism."
During an evening of music, praise, and sometimes roasting, the conference celebrated the eight years Bishop Gwinn has been the Raleigh Area episcopal leader. A chalice and paten were presented to Bishop and Mrs. Gwinn. At their request, an offering was taken for the 1K for 1Kid program at the Methodist Home for Children in Raleigh. Almost $20,000 was collected. Bishop Gwinn will retire following the 2012 SEJ Conference.
Included in other matters, the conference:
Upon recommendation from the SEJ Delegation, the Rev. Dr. Gray Southern was unanimously endorsed as the conference nominee for the episcopacy.
Re-elected Christine Dodson as conference treasurer, Jerry Bryan as conference secretary, and George Speake as conference statistician and elected Gary Locklear as conference lay leader.
Celebrated the ministry of 25 retiring pastors and the ministry of 16 clergy and 14 spouses of clergy who have died since the last Annual Conference.
Celebrated the commissioning of 10 provisional members elders track, the ordination of two deacons in full connection, the ordination of 18 elders in full connection, and recognized 24 people beginning their ministry as licensed local pastors.
Did not endorse a resolution asking the NC Council of Churches to change its stand on marriage to reflect the position of the UMC and another resolution calling for a letter to the General Conference voicing opposition to scheduling of certain petitions at the end of the conference. It endorsed a resolution calling for October being "Domestic Violence Awareness Month" and to provide awareness raising information concerning domestic violence.
- Recognized an Outstanding Lay Ministry in each of the current 12 districts.
Membership stands at 231,269, down 614 from the previous year. Average Worship Attendance stands at 81,257, down 704 from the previous year. Church school attendance stands at 35,498, down 937 from the previous year.
--Bill Norton, NC Conference director of communications.