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2015 West Michigan Conference

Location of conference gathering: Calvin College, Grand Rapids MI

Dates of conference gathering: June 4-7, 2015

Officiating bishop: Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey

Guest teacher: Rev. Adam Hamilton

Memorable quotes by speakers

“Most of all, leaders do not give up. Be careful about running away ... God isn't through with you yet.” and “Is your community full of sinners or full of sheep without a shepherd? Your perception makes a difference for your outreach.” (Adam Hamilton, lead pastor, Church of the Resurrection in Leawood Kansas)

“We must better understand the range of cultural diversity in our midst … an egg cracked from the outside-in means death. An egg cracked from the inside-out means life. Let’s do what John Wesley did in his time … Let’s change from the inside-out and open our minds and hearts and doors to receive everyone in our churches, even if it looks crazy to us. Brothers and Sisters, the one who is different enriches us.” (Rev. Nohemi Ramirez, West Michigan’s Hispanic-Latino Community Developer during morning worship)

Highlights

  • Michigan Area surpassed $1.5 million goal for Imagine No Malaria by raising $1,663,463.
  • Bannister United Methodist Church and the Rev. Mona Dye received Discipleship Ministries’ “One Matters” Award; the Rev. Lisa Batten, Kalamazoo Wesley Foundation, received the Francis Asbury Award from the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry
  • Conference recognized for 82% of congregations giving to General Advance and for 100% payment of General Church Apportionments for 2014

Main actions enacted by the conference

  • The Detroit and West Michigan conferences voted to become a single conference pending approval of the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference. Sealed ballots from both conference sessions were opened and counted June 10.
  • The Detroit and West Michigan conferences voted to form a Corporation to administer the nine camps, campgrounds and retreat ministries in the Michigan Area.
  • Approved a petition to General Conference endorsing “The Third Way” legislation proposed by the Connectional Table.
  • Approved a petition to General Conference asking general boards and agencies to divest from companies involved with illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands.

Election of delegates and alternate delegates to the 2016 General Conference and jurisdictional gathering was held in 2014.

Number of people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership, and average age: one permanent deacon ordained; four elders ordained; six provisional elders and one provisional deacon; 0 received into associate membership; average age 45

Number of people retired: 11 elders

Membership stands at 57,533, down 1,694 or 2 percent from the previous year.

Worship attendance stands at 32,911 down 1,990 or 5 percent from 2013.

Church school attendance stands at 7,589 down 843 or 10 percent from 2013.