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2013 Western North Carolina Annual Conference

Western North Carolina Annual Conference
Lake Junaluska, N.C.
June 19-23

Preachers for the 2013 session of Annual Conference, in addition to Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, included the Rev. Dr. Samuel H. Moore, Jr., Albemarle, N.C.; Bishop Peter D. Weaver, Washington, D.C.; Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr., Florida Conference and Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, North Carolina Conference. Three opportunities of teaching and bible study were led by the Rev. Dr. Elaine Heath, associate professor of evangelism and director of the Center for Missional Wisdom at Perkins School of Theology.

Throughout the four-day conference members and visitors of the conference were encouraged to be active by participating in the "Focus on Fitness" which included the WNCC Candler Club 5K to benefit the Imagine No Malaria Campaign, a morning walk around the lake with Bishop Goodpaster, as well as the ribbon cutting for the Lake Junaluska Fitness Center.

Members of the conference acted on 20 petitions, including the 2014 conference budget, the affordable care act, clergy pensions, as well as a petition for camping and retreat ministries. The members also reviewed and discussed a petition, that did not prevail, which would rotate the location of the annual meeting between three locations across western North Carolina.

The 2013 conference budget of $15,788,935 was approved by the members during the Friday afternoon conference plenary session June 10. Two conference missional/special offerings were designated the denominational Imagine No Malaria Campaign and the Lake Junaluska Centennial Fund. The amount collected for the Imagine No Malaria Campaign during the June 19 Opening Worship service totaled $23,629.11. The Lake Junaluska Centennial Fund offering taken during the June 23 Closing Worship service totaled $11,084.91.

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

Dr. Shannon Sherfey, a general practitioner, clergy spouse and member of First United Methodist Church, Taylorsville, N.C.; gave the laity address.

During the June 21 evening worship, Bishop Goodpaster was joined by Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the North Carolina Conference, in an evening mission celebration and together, they spoke of a unified state working alongside one another to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Bishop Goodpaster ordained two deacons and 18 elders as members in full connection at the ordination service on June 22 in Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska Assembly. The average age of those ordained was 46. In addition, 21 provisional members were commissioned including 6 deacons and 15 elders.

The lives of 26 clergy and diaconal ministers, as well as 32 clergy spouses who passed away during the previous year were honored at a Celebration of Life Service June 22. And, 40 clergy members were retired.

In an effort to be good stewards of God-given resources, the conference communications team debuted a daily video news show to enhance storytelling about the happenings of the annual conference, while also engaging through frequent social media updates on the conference.

Membership stands at 290,751, down 900 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 1117,566, down 2,621 from the previous year. Church school attendance stands at 52,628. The total number of person participating in Christian formation groups stands at 116,085, up 780 from the previous year. In addition, 46,296 participated in a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission or other mission engagement opportunities.

--Skyler Nimmons, Communications, Western North Carolina Conference