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2012 Western North Carolina Annual Conference

Western North Carolina Annual Conference
June 20-24, 2012, Lake Junaluska, N.C.

The members of the 2012 Western North Carolina Annual Conference gathered at Lake Junaluska, June 20-24, under the theme "Lessons by the Lakeshore."

Preachers for the 2012 session, in addition to Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, included Dr. Jan Love, Atlanta; the Rev. Fredrick Outlaw, Montgomery, Ala.; the Rev. Sylvia Wilhelm, Lexington, N.C.; and Bishop G. Lindsey Davis, Crestwood, Ky. The lead teacher for the event was the Rev. Adam Hamilton, who led a three-part teaching series, "Leading Beyond the Walls," on Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22.

The 2013 conference budget of $15,772,756 was approved by the members on Friday, June 22, and is a reduction of $1,030,525, or 6.13 percent. The missional offerings were designated for Gulfside Association, formerly Gulfside Assembly, for which $15,524.31 was raised and the denominational Imagine No Malaria campaign, for which $31,527.76 was raised.

The laity report was delivered by Robert Upchurch, conference lay leader; Mildred Carter, United Methodist Women president; Hank Dozier, United Methodist Men president; and Josiah Howard, Conference Council on Youth Ministries president.

Dean Martin, youth leader at New Hope UMC in Union County, gave the 2012 Laity Address, speaking to the conference's common theme of revitalization and how to be a vital church. Martin encouraged reaching beyond church walls, saying "if we truly reach, then we follow the great commandment of go. We go and make disciples right where they are."

Jane Boatwright, president of the Foundation for Evangelism, presented the Harry Denman Awards for Evangelism on Saturday, June 23, to the following persons:

- Haley Melton, a middle school youth from New Hope UMC in Union County

- The Rev. Chris Westmoreland, senior pastor of Assurance UMC in Huntersville, N.C.

- The Rev. Duncan Overrein, assistant pastor of Crossfire UMC in North Wilkesboro, N.C.

The Rev. Dr. Ken Carter was unanimously endorsed by the members as the episcopal nominee for the Western North Carolina Conference on Saturday, June 23. Carter, who currently serves as the Waynesville District Superintendent, received an endorsement in June 2011 from the delegation to the 2012 General and Jurisdictional Conferences.

The conference elected the Rev. Kimberly T. Ingram to serve as the conference secretary and Ms. Jennifer L. Burton to serve as the conference treasurer/statistician for the 2012-2016 quadrennium.

Bishop Goodpaster ordained six deacons and 25 elders as members in full connection at the Ordination Service on Saturday, June 23, in Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska Assembly. The average age of those ordained was 45. In addition, 28 provisional members were commissioned, including four deacons and 24 elders. The average age of those commissioned was 41.

The lives of 23 clergy and diaconal ministers, as well as 22 clergy spouses, who passed away during the previous year were honored at a Celebration of Life Service on Saturday, June 23. And, 38 clergy members were retired.

Membership stands at 290,821, down 830 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 120,187, down 736. Church school attendance stands at 55,628, down 528 from the previous year. The total number of persons participating in Christian formation groups stands at 115,263, up 6,042 from the previous year. Also, the number of mission teams sent from the local church stands at 5,813, an increase of 33 percent from the previous year.

* Skyler E. Nimmons, Communications Specialist, Western North Carolina Annual Conference