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2013 Kansas East Annual Conference

May 30 June 1, Leawood, Kan.

The Kansas East Annual Conference met May 30 June 1 for its final regular session at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection under the leadership of Bishop Scott J. Jones. The theme was "Dancing with the Spirit," inspired by the story of the Israelites in Exodus where Miriam leads the people dancing toward the Promised Land.

The conference celebrated its past with special history videos, a display of church photos and a brochure timeline of the history of the conference from 1853-2014. The conference celebrated camping, campus ministry and church development projects funded through the conference's capital campaign, Bridges to the Future, and its participation in the Imagine No Malaria campaign. To date, 74 of the conference's churches have raised $45,448 for the initiative since Jan. 1, 2012.

Two guests from Haiti visited the conference and shared their thanks for the work and commitment of the Kansas East Conference to support the ministry of the Methodist Church there, specifically on the island of LaGonave. The conference has a more than 30-year history of working toward safe drinking water, education and medical care on the island.

Members of the Great Plains Transition Team presented the draft plan of organization to conference members and took questions on the plan. Members also participated in facilitated table conversations about aspects of the plan. The transition team will review the information collected at a meeting later in June and work to prepare another draft of the plan for consideration at the Uniting Conference, Aug. 22-24 in Salina, Kan.

The conference adopted changes to the bylaws for United Methodist Homes Inc. in Topeka that removes residents from the board of trustees, a petition reminding churches to support the Global AIDS Fund as voted in 2011, approved a list of Advance Specials and three resolutions to close churches in the conference. The conference also voted on four amendments to the United Methodist constitution. The results were not presented.

Bishop Jones commissioned seven into the ministry of elder, welcomed two into associate membership, and ordained two elders received into full connection. The average age of those being elected to full membership is 31.5. Eleven retired from ministry.

Membership stands at 70,236, up 188 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 30,449, down 293 from the previous year. Church school attendance stands at 10,152, down 441 from 2011.

Lisa Elliott Diehl, area communications director