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2016 West Ohio Annual Conference

Dates:  Sunday, June 5-Wednesday, June 8

Location:  Lakeside Chautauqua

Attendance Total:  2,278  (956 clergy, 892 laity, 190 spouses, 240 visitors)

Budget:    $22.3 million. ($19.0 conference and $3.3 district)  Since 2013, West Ohio also continues among annual conferences that participate at the 100 percent level of General Church Support.

Celebration of Ministry

·         40 retirees representing 870 years of service

·         Commissioned 4 provisional deacons and 14 provisional elders

·         As a Connectional Church, it was a joy to participate in the courtesy commissioning of a Provisional Member of the Manila Annual Conference

·         Ordained 18 Elders

Speakers 

·         Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, Presiding Bishop of the West Ohio Conference, preached powerful messages during both the opening Memorial service on Sunday evening and the Celebration of Ministry Service on Tuesday afternoon.

·         Dr. David Watson, Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs, as well as an Associate Professor of New Testament at United Theological Seminary, was the guest speaker for both the laity and clergy session. Watson spoke openly about ministry with people with disabilities and shared his own story of how the incarnation and nature of God have been revealed through his son Sean, who was diagnosed just after birth with Down Syndrome.

·         The Rev. Dr. L. Gregory Jones, Executive Vice President and Provost at Baylor University, was the guest speaker on Monday and developed a theme of how Christians, and The United Methodist Church, have lost sight of our mission to be spiritual innovators, fueled by the fire of the Holy Spirit to renew the world by the power of God. Rev. Jones lifted up a deep Wesleyan and United Methodist history of social holiness and social outreach and called the church to be leaders of change for the better in our world once again.

·          Bishop Peggy A. Johnson, Episcopal leader of the Philadelphia Area of the UMC, was the guest preacher on Wednesday morning. Bishop Johnson challenged the body to PROVIDE FULL ACCESSIBILITY so all can hear God's word and respond, PROMOTE SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY to include everyone, PUSH EMPOWERMENT so all can use their giftedness and PERMIT OPENNESS IN ATTITUDES toward disabilities so they are seen as gifts to deepen understanding of grace and hope.

Highlights

·         Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda of the North Katanga Conference was present throughout annual conference and West Ohio was privileged to help honor his retirement. Bishop Palmer and the Rev. Dee Stickley-Miner recognized him for his long partnership with West Ohio and historical and life-changing contributions to the lives of the people of the North Katanga area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There was an ice-cream reception for Bishop Ntambo on Tuesday evening and several times during annual conference, the body expressed its respect and love for Bishop Ntambo through standing ovations.

·         Celebrated raising $3,663,128 for Imagine No Malaria

·         During a moment of personal privilege, the Rev. Karen Cook asked Bishop Palmer if in the spirit of the General Conference, he would lead West Ohio in the charge to model a theologically diverse commission in West Ohio. Bishop Palmer welcomed this invitation.

·         Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Order of Deacon – West Ohio video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWK5nYIKMJI

·         Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of full clergy rights for women – During the Board of Ministry report, the body participated in a beautiful liturgy celebrating this milestone. We gave thanks for those who paved the way, celebrated those on the present journey and looked forward to a future where every newborn girl has limitless possibilities.