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2016 North Texas Annual Conference

Officiating bishop: Bishop Michael McKee

Guest speakers: Bishop William McAlilly, the Rev. Scott M. Chrosteck, Cynthia A Wilson and the Rev. Danielle Shroyer

Main actions

Legislative items included the adoption of the 2017 budget, the closing of four churches and the merger of two, and establishing a covenant relationship between Methodist Children’s Home and the North Texas Annual Conference.

Memorable points

Youth member from First Rowlett, Anna Shipley was called into action after the December 26, 2015, tornadoes devastated parts of her town.

For Anna, the 5:00 a.m. wake-up calls were a bear, but she wanted to represent the love of Christ as she served at the church’s Family Life Center. Early one day, after Anna dragged herself up, when she might otherwise slept in on Christmas break, a 6-year-old boy arrived at the center with his piggy bank. His own house “had left” that night in the storms, as he put it. Despite his misfortune, he said, “I want you to give these quarters so people can wash clothes with them.”

Anna was awestruck by his generosity.

“Let your witness be intentional, bold, creative, honest and without any excuses,” she said.

Spoken Word Artist Payton Parker, youth pastor at St. Luke “Community” UMC, delivered a spoken word piece. “With young people, they constantly are engaged in the rap music culture and using what they already love to cultivate and grow their love for God. It is truly meeting them where they are. I use my gift to show people you don’t have to lose who you are when you come to Christ, but God uses what you love to reach others and make disciples,” he said.

Keynoter the Rev. Scott M. Chrostek, pastor of Resurrection DowntownRezDowntown, in Kansas City, Missouri, preached from Luke 18.

"Luke 18 is about dying to oneself. I find this a bit unsettling. Jesus told them to sell everything they owned and then follow him. Our ability to witness hinges on our openness to this scripture. We are called to embody this scripture," he challenged. "We can change the world when we give away all that we have."

Resolution

The Rev. Mitchell Boone, pastor of White Rock UMC, presented a North Texas Conference resolution on the Council of Bishops Statement. The Rev. Stan Copeland added an amendment to it, after which NTC members passed the resolution.

“The resolution stems from a place where we realized that we are living in a broken, strained relationship with one another,” Boone said. “We were hoping to create unity around the diversity of theological opinion, contexts of where pastors feel God is calling them. We were grateful that the resolution passed overwhelmingly.”

He is convinced that the resolution “allows us to aspire to be better than we are currently, to look toward the future, to look at one another in clergy circles as colleagues who offer grace and love to one another regardless of where we are on this issue. It allows laity to know that this conference is committed to maintaining diversity in thought and in practice. I hope it begins really intentional conversation as we face some difficult decisions at a General Conference level.”

Text of resolution:

WHEREAS we support the decision of the 2016 General Conference to empower the Council of Bishops in leading The United Methodist Church beyond the current tensions rooted in our disagreements over human sexuality;

AND WHEREAS we share the acknowledgment that “Our Discipline contains language that is contradictory, unnecessarily hurtful, and inadequate for the variety of local, regional and global contexts,” the inadequacy of current language to address a wide diversity of ministry settings is also clear in the North Texas Annual Conference and we are heartbroken for those who have been denied full access to the ministries of the church;

AND WHEREAS the Council of Bishops is exploring “options to help the church live in grace with one another, including ways to avoid further complaints, trials and harm while we uphold the Discipline,” and we pray that members of our Annual Conference will demonstrate a spirit of compassion even when we are not of one mind;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that until the Council of Bishops Commission completes its work, members of the NTCUMC will prayerfully and actively work toward a new reality in which space is given, while joining the Bishops and upholding the Discipline, for a diversity of theological reflection, preaching and practices surrounding ministry with LGBTQ members of our congregations that is authentic to the call of pastors, parishioners and their contexts for ministry as they do their best to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Four focus areas

The NTC Reinforced Work with the Poor. The NTC’s project is One Plus One. Bishop McKee shared stats from the project’s first year.

Bishop McKee reaffirmed the Annual Conference emphasis. “One + One is the North Texas Conference initiative for each church to have a relationship with a local public school,” he noted.

“We began last year. One hundred and fifteen churches responded to the most recent survey regarding their involvement.

  • “East District: 40
  • “Metro: 20
  • “North Central: 26
  • “Northwest: 29.

“Of the 115 churches, 94 (81 percent) reported that they served children in schools,” he said.

The kinds of services, the numbers of children served, the numbers of volunteers, the averages, and totals regarding the services they provided are below:

Service offered

Number of churches

Average number served

Total children served

 Reading

58

50

2,897

Tutoring

80

43

1,499

Mentoring

41

24

992

After-School

20

27

584

Summer Program

17

65

1,105

Feeding Program

29

843

24,450

Programs for children require adult volunteers. The table below lists the number of churches, the average number of volunteers per church, and the total number of volunteers. Note that no total is provided because volunteers may serve multiple programs.

 Service offered

Number of churches

Average number serving

Total adults serving

Reading

58

12

663

Tutoring

80

12

416

Mentoring

41

13

510

After-School

20

9

163

Summer Program

17

52

880

Feeding Program

29

121

3,495

“We served 24,450 children! And 3,495 adults were involved!

“In addition, 54 churches (47 percent) reported they had other programs for school-age children than those represented in the chart, and 76 churches (66 percent) said they donated money to their local schools for other uses,” the bishop explained.

Number of people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership, and average age: 19; 35.8

Number of people retired: 14

Membership stands at 138,904, down 2,923 from the previous year.

Worship attendance stands at 56,139, down 669.

Church school attendance stands at 24,643, down 822.

Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2015: , down from 2014: .

Adults and young adults in small groups for 2015: , up from 2014:

Worshippers engaged in mission for 2015: up from 2014: 5,986

--Sheron Patterson, North Texas Annual Conference Communication Officer