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2016 Michigan Area Annual Conference

Name of conference/Dates of Gathering:

An historic combined gathering brought the Detroit Annual Conference and the West Michigan Annual Conference together June 8-13, 2016. Shared activities, June 9-12, were sandwiched between two family sessions: DAC business was done June 8-9 and WMAC matters were cared for June 12-13.

Location: East Lansing, Michigan, campus of Michigan State University

Officiating: Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey

Guest speakers:

Rev. Glen Chebon Kernell, Jr. (Act of Repentance and Reconciliation June 10)

Bishop Donald A. Ott (Morning Devotions, June 11)

Bishop Gregory Palmer (Mission Celebration Message June 11)

Memorable points or quotes by speakers:

Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey: (referring to the upcoming uniting of Michigan’s two annual conferences) “Today the conferences are in a place you have wanted to be for decades. It has been a gift for me to be the one to lead you.”

Rev. Glen Chebon Kernell: (during Act of Repentance and Reconciliation) “The path to wellness is not a short path or an easy path. It is a path we have to take and it coincides with the Gospel Message.”

Bishop Donald Ott: (speaking of the action taken to be one Michigan Conference) “If any out in your communities give that a 2nd thought, they are saying quietly. ‘Okay. That’s fine. But live and love. Show us daily what God’s love means.’ So go from here and shock yourself with what you say and do in Jesus’ name. Amaze your local newspaper with the actions of your congregations, your pastor and yourself. You will know you are on the right track when people say, ‘Can you believe THAT from THEM?’”

Bishop Gregory Palmer: (speaking as keynoter at the end of a day long Mission Emphasis) “There can never be for the church any disconnect between our words and our deeds. You can’t say ‘this is spiritual’ and ‘this is material.’ We ought to understand that it is all intermingled all the time, spirit and flesh. We can’t slice and dice ourselves… ‘I am a social action Christian’ or ‘I am an evangelical Christian.’ Really? Our attempts at slicing and dicing ought to cease. We each may be more naturally inclined to one or the other but we are never let off the hook at strengthening that part of our ministry that will make our ministry more whole.”

Main actions:

--Detroit Annual Conference endorsed the Rev. Dr. Charles Boayue, Jr. for the episcopacy

--West Michigan Annual Conference endorsed the Rev. Laurie Haller and the Rev. Kennetha Bigham Tsai for the episcopacy

--Combined conferences approved an enabling motion for creation of a new Michigan Area Conference; Design Team continues work to bring a plan to the 2017 Michigan Area Conference; expected to be official and operational by January 2019

--Combined Conference shared in an Act of Repentance and Reconciliation with Indigenous People

--Celebrated the life and ministry of Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey as she retires after four years leading the Michigan Area

Resolutions adopted by the conference

--DC and WMC committed to long-term support for those affected by the Flint water crisis

--DC and WMC denounced anti-Islam discrimination and stereotyping

--DC and WMC spoke in favor of gun-free zones in churches and ministries

--DC supported reasonable gun control measures

--DC and WMC advocated for Restorative Justice

--DC called for repeal of Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law

--DC called for reduction in Mass Incarceration

--WMC committed to engage in Holy Conferencing toward witness of authentic unity (through conversations among conservative & liberal, clergy & lay, LGBTQI & straight)

--WMC eliminated a conference rule that World Service apportionments be paid at 100 percent

--WMC denounced the idolatry of hand-guns and rapid-fire weapons

Retired: DC-- 21    WMC--18

Number of people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership

DC: 1 deacon ordained; 4 elders ordained; 3 deacons commissioned;  5 elders commissioned (no access to age)

WMC: no deacons ordained; 9 elders ordained; 1 deacon commissioned; 3 elders commissioned

Other Statistics:

DC membership, 81,036, down 2 percent from 2014

DC worship attendance, 36,926, down 3 percent

DC church school attendance, 9,546, down 10 percent

DC professions or reaffirmations of faith, 1,904, up 18 percent  

DC adults and young adults in small groups, 19,476 up 5 percent

DC worshippers engaged in mission, 20,063, up 4 percent  

WM membership, 54,816, down 4 percent from 2014

WM worship attendance, 31,724 down 5 percent from 2014

WM church school attendance, 7,745, down 2 percent

WM professions or reaffirmations of faith, 1,122, up 9 percent

WM, adults and young adults in small groups, 17,997, up 1 percent

WM, engaged in mission for 2015, 12,609 up 12 percent