2015 North Carolina Conference
Name of conference: The North Carolina Annual Conference met June 10-13 at the Wilmington Convention Center. The theme for the quadrennium is a powerful image from Psalm 84, “Strength to Strength” with this year's focus being “Serve.” The conference celebrated indigenous peoples, specifically the Lumbee Tribe, who are a historic and prominent part of the North Carolina Conference. We also created and launched an annual conference app on iTunes and Google Play that was quite the hit! And, we launched a brand new annual conference website: http://nccumc.org/ac2015/, which made voting much easier!
Officiating bishop: Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Guest speakers: Bishop John K. Yambasu, Sierra Leone Episcopal Area; the Rev. Michael Slaughter, lead pastor, Ginghamsburg Church in Ohio; the Rev. J. Warren Smith, associate professor of Historical Theology, Duke Divinity School; and Sara Groves, musical storyteller
Memorable points or quotes by speakers:
“God doesn’t allow children to starve; we do.” — The Rev. Mike Slaughter
“Service is a means of grace because it brings a love, which drives out the fear that separates us.” — The Rev. J. Warren Smith
“God has placed in your pocket what is intended for others.” — Bishop John K. Yambasu
“I want to add to the beautiful, to tell a better story... This is grace. An invitation to be beautiful.” —Sara Groves
Main actions enacted and resolutions adopted by the conference:
The Commission on Evangelism of the North Carolina Conference and the Foundation for Evangelism awarded the 2015 Harry Denman Evangelism Award to four outstanding people in the North Carolina Conference. The Harry Denman Evangelism Award, is named in honor and memory of Harry Denman, a lay evangelist and founder of the Foundation for Evangelism. The award is presented yearly to a clergy, a laity and youth who show a true passion for evangelism and embody the Great Commission in their lives and community.
The 2015 Laity Award was presented to Joey Gore, director of music at Wrightsboro United Methodist Church in Wilmington, North Carolina, for 20 years. The 2015 Youth Award was presented to Matthew Marks of Kipling United Methodist Church in Kipling and to Abby Martin of Horne Memorial United Methodist Church in Clayton. The 2015 Clergy Award was presented to the Rev. John A. Farmer, who has shared the gospel message with children, youth and adults through his ministry at Camp-Don-Lee as the camp director for the last 37 years.
Resolution 1: “Love Your Neighbor" was adopted.
Resolution 2: “Against Slavery and Human Trafficking” was adopted with amendments.
Resolution 3: “Caring for the Most Vulnerable in North Carolina” was adopted.
Resolution 4: “Concerning Discriminatory Language in the Book of Discipline" was defeated 505-483.
Resolution 5: "Declare Trinity a United Methodist Historic Site" was adopted.
Resolution 6: "Amend the Book of Discipline's Language on Abortion" was adopted with minor amendments that state, “We unconditionally reject abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection or eugenics.” This version will be sent to the 2016 General Conference as a petition.
Resolution 7: “Withdraw the United Methodist Church from the Coalition for Reproductive Choice” was adopted.
The annual conference received reports with proposed financial changes from the Council on Finance and Administration, Board of Pension, Insurance Committee, Committee on Equitable Compensation and Joint Committee on Clergy Medical Leave. After hearing all reports and their impacts on the conference budget, the budget was approved at $21,389,774 for a 1.19 percent increase over the previous year's budget.
Recognized the chartering of Crossroads United Methodist Church (Fayetteville) Chartered.
Additionally, we have 1,905 total people in average weekly worship attendance in our 20 current new faith communities being developed. These are typically within 4 years of age. The majority are 2 years or less.
Offerings and Mission Projects
Imagine No Malaria — $81,268.00
Stop Hunger Now meals prepared — 10,000
Offering for Laity Ministries—$4,532.66
Provisional deacons: 3
Ordained deacons: 2
Provisional elders: 15 (average age — 41 yrs.)
Ordained elders: 12 (average age — 44 yrs.)
Received into associate membership: 0
Licensed local pastors: 32
Remembered at memorial service: 32
Membership: 229,744, up by 409
Worship attendance: 76,896, down by 1785
Sunday school attendance: 31,667, up by 1,309
Professions of faith: 2,806, up by 103
Baptisms age 0-12: 1,456, down by 31
Baptisms age 12 and above: 750, down by 84
Total Baptisms down by 115
— Mary Andreolli, director of communications for the North Carolina Conference