2013 Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference
Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference
June 6-8, 2013
University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Md.
Theme: "Diversity: Embrace it! Celebrate it!"
Almost 600 United Methodists from 487 area churches in the Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference gathered June 6-8 for the 229th session of the Peninsula-Delaware conference. The theme was tied into in every sermon and presentation.
"Over my head, I hear music in the air." These words of the old spiritual came to life at the beginning of the laity session of the annual conference. Laity discussed the transition from the lay speaker model of ministry to the lay servant model, and every person in attendance made patches for our quilt. Each patch included the laity's name, district, spiritual gift and passion. All patches were different colors and the same size to symbolize our diversity and our oneness in Jesus Christ.
The Rev. Tori Butler from the Texas Annual Conference led a Bible study on diversity, where she highlighted the pressing diversity issue of socioeconomic disparity within our conference. She challenged laity to listen to the concerns of their brothers and sisters in faith who did not look or sound like themselves and to pray for the Spirit's transformational power to be present in their communities.
Charlie Coleman, a 2013 graduate of Dillard University, New Orleans, who currently serves as a United Methodist Black College Fund ambassador, spoke during the clergy session. Coleman commended our conference for once again paying 100 percent of its apportionment for the Black College Fund. The Scripture for the day was Revelation 7:9-17, and the Rev. Mark Farnell, Centreville (Md.) United Methodist Church, brought the message for the morning.
The opening worship service began with heartfelt and inspiring prayer, dance and song. Celebrating our diversity, we remembered again that we are God's everyday people.
Liturgical dancers, dressed in multicolored garments, joyfully celebrated this diversity. They reimagined the multitudes surrounding the throne of God in Revelation 7:9-12, offering their obedience and adoration and reminding us to do the same.
The Rev. Shirlyn Henry Brown preached an inspiring message based on Acts 11:12. In "A member of the Household," she reminded us that we disciples of Jesus Christ are "not to make a distance between "them and us." God loves the entire creation and calls us to unite and do the same.
Dr. David A. Anderson, Bridgeway Community Church, Columbia, Md., and Bridge Leader Network, spoke to all in attendance about his journey as an African-American man married to a Korean-American woman. He has lived, in his personal life, both the racism and the diversity of which he speaks. Anderson shared God's solution to dysfunctional diversity in 16 words that point to Jesus' command found in both John 1:39 and Revelation 22:17: COME!
- Comprehension begins with conversation.
- Openness leads to oneness.
- Multicolored does not multicultural make.
- Environment means everything.
Philadelphia Episcopal Area Bishop Peggy A. Johnson officially set appointments beginning July 1 for two new district superintendents at Friday's plenary session. The Rev. Fred Duncan, currently serving at Bethel United Methodist Church, Lewes, Del., was appointed as superintendent of the Salisbury District. Duncan fills the position previously held by the Rev. Charlotte Nichols, who celebrated her retirement on June 1. Nichols has served in many capacities in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, including twice as district superintendent.
A new path in ministry was announced for Boyd Etter, current superintendent of the Dover District. As of July 1, Etter will serve as pastor of Community Church, Ocean Pines. The Rev. Vicki Gordy-Stith, now assigned to Skyline United Methodist Church, Wilmington, Del., will serve as Dover District superintendent.
The Rev. Lester Justice and the Rev. Denise Founds announced anniversaries for all clergy celebrating five or more years in pastoral ministry. The Rev. R. Jervis Cooke, retired elder in full connection, who holds the distinction of having served 72 years in pastoral ministry in 2013, received special recognition.
A record 23 retiring clergy were honored at this years' service. In a brief video, each pastor reflected upon a unique career in ministry and recounted how he or she was blessed and nurtured by the conference and the connectionalism of The United Methodist Church.
Retired Bishop Violet Fisher delivered the message "Called, Anointed and Appointed" at the Service of Commissioning and Ordination. She reminded the ordinands that these words indicate that God has entered into a special covenant with specific individuals and that the Holy Spirit chooses them for this ministry.
"God chose you," she said. "We are the called-out disciples of Christ. Out of all the people on the face of this Earth, we acknowledge the call."
Five individuals were ordained as elders in full connection: the Rev. Mary Browne, the Rev. Mary Haggard, the Rev. Steve LaMotte, the Rev. Missy Rekitzke and the Rev. Kristina Schonewolf.
In addition, two ministers were commissioned as provisional members of the order of elder: the Rev. Lori Brown, associate pastor, Connection Community Church, Middletown, Del., and the Rev. Ron Schatz, Stevenson United Methodist Church, Berlin, Md.
- Congo Partnership: $8,292.05
- BOOM: $5,608.49
- VIM Disaster Relief: $10,619.51
- Young People's Ministries Tray Day: $1,477.69
During the business sessions, conference members voted on four Constitutional amendments and nine resolutions.Among the approved resolutions where the Congo Partnership, Imagine No Malaria and recognizing Carey's Camp as a conference historic site after 125 years of continuous operation.
Communications included live video streaming and posts on the conference website, Facebook and Twitter. Services included American Sign Language translation, on-screen transcription of the spoken word and a big-screen reader.
--Doug Lanter, communications coordinator, Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference