2017 Red Bird Missionary Conference session
Bishop Leonard Fairley convened the 49th annual conference session of the Red Bird Missionary Conference on May 13 at Thousandsticks United Methodist Church in Thousandsticks, Kentucky.
The session opened with a Memorial Service of Holy Communion. Clergy, mission institution employees and volunteers, and conference laity who died this past year were remembered. Bishop Fairley preached the message, and the Red Bird Mission Christian School Cardinal Singers provided the special music for the service.
At 10:30 a.m., Bishop Fairley opened the business session of the annual conference. He began by recognizing those students who received scholarships through the Red Bird Missionary Conference last year. Conference Statistician Shirley Walker presented the conference statistics for the year celebrating the increases in baptisms, average worship attendance, children in small groups and vacation Bible school.
General and Southeastern Jurisdictional conference delegates, Marilyn Osborne and the Rev. Robert Amundsen, reported on the 2016 General Conference and Southeast Jurisdictional Conference. Amundsen, who is the conference secretary, presented to the body the five constitutional amendments passed at General Conference, now requiring ratification by at least two-thirds of annual conference voters. The conference voted on each of the five amendments.
The Rev. Julie Hager Love, from the Kentucky Conference and a member of the Commission on the Way Forward, shared about the commission’s work. She also shared a video, which further explained the commission’s work to date. The conference voted to retain the current delegates elected to the 2016 General Conference for the 2019 Special Called General Conference. New reserve delegates will be elected at the 2018 annual conference session.
Following lunch, the clergy and laity sessions met, and both meetings went well. The business of the clergy session included a request from Carol Txipama to transfer her membership to the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, where she has been serving. The request was approved.
Other business included a vote “allowing” the Rev. Charles Jack, missionary from the West Ohio Conference, to retire this June. Conference Treasurer Shirley Walker presented the Council on Finance and Administration report with the recommendation for the 2018 budget. The budget was approved.
This marked the fifth consecutive year the conference experienced a positive budget. Bishop Fairley also recognized the conference churches that paid 100 percent of their Mission Covenant.
Bishop Fairley opened the floor to receive invitations to host the 2018 annual conference. Hope United Methodist Church and Henderson Settlement offered to host the 2018 meeting. Their offer to host was enthusiastically approved, and Hope United Methodist Church and Henderson Settlement will host the 50th session of the annual conference of the Red Bird Missionary Conference, May 12, 2018. The afternoon business session concluded at 3:40 p.m.
The Rev. Karen Stigall, conference superintendent, preached at the Mission Night service where close to $5,000 was given toward the ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina. Bishop Fairley expressed his gratitude for the conference’s generosity. The area hardest hit by the hurricane was near his neighborhood in North Carolina.
This year’s Harry Denman Award for Evangelism recipients were the Rev. Robert Gross (clergy) and Melody Pitzer (lay). Fourteen of our conference churches and outreach centers were recognized for their Second Mile 5-Star Giving. At the close of the service, Bishop Fairley read the appointments. The conference welcomed the Rev. James Savage, the incoming pastor appointed to the Jack’s Creek/Bowen’s Creek Charge, who will also serve as assistant conference superintendent.
This year, we celebrated the retirements of Mark Lemons, director of Henderson Settlement, and the Rev. Charles Jack, who along with his wife Betsy, have served the Red Bird Missionary Conference for 24 of their 31 years in ministry. We have been truly blessed and grateful for these wonderful servants who came and served their season of time here in the Red Bird Missionary Conference.
— The Rev. Robert Amundsen, Conference Secretary